Chairman Goodlatte: It is a new day in America. For eight years, the Obama Administration has brought us one thing in response to the nation’s need for recovery from hard times—failure.
Bold, innovative measures to unleash American freedom, opportunity and resourcefulness could have brought prosperity’s return after the Great Recession—just as under Ronald Reagan, following his era’s recession.
But the Obama Administration responded differently—with measure after overreaching measure, through regulation, taxes and spending. It was consumed by the folly of trying to force “transformation” from the American people through command and control from Washington. Everywhere it went, it sought to choose the winners and losers.
When Washington tries to choose the winners and the losers, we all lose. And lose we have. We have a national debt of $20 trillion, thanks to the outgoing administration’s blowout spending. We have an economy that for eight years has failed to produce enough good, new, full-time jobs to sustain growth and restore dignity to the unemployed. We have 92 million Americans outside the workforce—a level not seen since the Carter years. And nearly $2 trillion of American wealth is commandeered each year to be spent as Washington bureaucrats see fit, through runaway regulation.
But it is a new day in America.
An incoming Administration promises a new approach to make America great again.
Central to that approach is regulatory reform. The Obama Administration abused regulation to force its will on the American people. The assembling Trump Administration promises to wipe out abusive regulation—freeing Americans to innovate and prosper once more.
Today’s legislation will give this new Administration the tools.
The heart of today’s bill, the Regulatory Accountability Act, title I, restores to the people the true right to be heard by Washington’s regulators. And it commands Washington bureaucrats to listen to the facts and ideas offered by the people, and to follow them when they are better than the bureaucracy’s own. It calls on regulatory agencies to achieve the benefits Congress has called on them through statutes to achieve. But it gives the people full opportunities to offer fresh alternatives for doing so, and to vet with the agencies the facts and ideas that work, and those that don’t. After the public has fully contributed its say, agencies must choose the lowest-cost alternative proven to work—achieving the needed benefits, but rejecting unneeded costs. And that leaves resources free to generate the benefits, create the jobs and yield the higher wages only the private sector, through hard work and ingenuity, can achieve.
The other titles of the bill strongly buttress this reform.
Title II, the Separation of Powers Restoration Act, wipes out judicial deference to agency interpretations of statutes and regulations, and restores to our system of checks and balances the rule Justice Marshall declared in Marbury vs. Madison—that “[i]t is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is.”
When title II is law, our courts will no more be rubber stamps for runaway regulatory interpretations that burst the bounds of what Congress truly intended through statutes.
Title III, the Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act, provides teeth to existing law written to prompt regulatory agencies to tailor flexibility for small businesses into their rules. Small businesses have fewer resources to comply with Washington’s mandates. They need flexibility to survive. But the terms of existing law for too long have been ignored by Washington bureaucrats.
Title III assures the law will no longer be ignored—resulting in freedom and flexibility for America’s small businesses, which create the lion’s share of new jobs in this country, and are pillars of communities across this land.
Title IV prevents one of the most egregious of bureaucrats’ regulatory abuses—the promulgation of new rules that impose over a billion dollars in annual compliance costs, which must then be complied with even while meritorious litigation challenging their issuance proceeds in court. Title IV, the REVIEW Act, eliminates this abuse, forcing agencies to stay their billion-dollar rules administratively if they are timely challenged in court.
And, in Titles V and VI of the bill, the ALERT Act and the Providing Accountability Through Transparency Act, this legislation delivers much needed, greater transparency for the public about what new regulations agencies are developing and proposing, so they can better prepare to comment on what is proposed, shape what is promulgated, and comply with final rules.
With the help of these reforms, we can truly make America more competitive again, put Americans back to work, and free America’s entrepreneurs to innovate and launch more exciting new products and services again.
I thank my colleagues—Small Business Committee Chairman Chabot (R-Ohio), Subcommittee Chairman Marino (R-Pa.), Representative Ratcliffe (R-Texas), and Representative Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.), who have joined me in contributing titles to this legislation. I urge all of my colleagues to support this bill, and reserve the balance of my time.
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