Washington, D.C. – House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) today delivered the following remarks during the House Judiciary Committee’s markup of the Sunshine for Regulatory Decrees and Settlements Act (H.R. 469).
Chairman Goodlatte: The untimely drag of new regulations, too often issued without sufficient consideration of their costs, benefits and impacts on jobs, held back economic recovery throughout the Obama years. Although the Trump Administration is delivering regulatory relief, without the help of statutory reform, relief may only be temporary, not permanent.
The “Sunshine for Regulatory Decrees and Settlements Act of 2017” is an important part of this needed statutory reform. Far too often, costly new regulations are issued directly under the authority of consent decrees and settlement agreements that force federal agencies to issue new rules. These decrees and settlements typically stem from deals between regulatory agencies and pro-regulatory plaintiffs.
Those to be regulated—our Nation’s job creators—frequently do not know about these deals until the plaintiffs’ complaints and the proposed decrees or settlements are filed in court. By then, it is too late. Regulated businesses, State regulators and other interested entities are unlikely to be able to intervene in the litigation. The court can approve the deals before regulated parties even have an opportunity to determine whether new regulatory costs will be imposed on them.
The Obama Administration entered into a high number of consent decrees and settlement agreements like this. Prominent examples include decrees and agreements that required the Environmental Protection Agency to issue Clean Air Act Maximum Achievable Control Technology standards and Chesapeake Bay TMDLs that triggered billions of dollars in costs.
The “Sunshine for Regulatory Decrees and Settlements Act of 2017” puts an end to the abuse of this practice. It assures that those to be regulated have a fair opportunity to participate in the resolution of litigation that affects them. It ensures that courts have all the information they need before they approve proposed decrees and settlements. And it provides needed transparency on the ways agencies conduct their business.
At the same time, the bill also respects the basic rights of plaintiffs and defendants to manage litigation between them. As a result, this legislation offers an effective and balanced remedy.
This bill is a timely solution to a real and important problem. I thank Rep. Collins for his reintroduction and continued championship of this legislation.
I urge all of my colleagues to support the bill, and yield back the balance of my time.