Clean Air Act and Related Issues - 115th Congress (2017-2018)

Regulatory Reform

 

Regulatory Accountability Act (H.R. 5, S. 951)

Background

H.R. 5, the Regulatory Accountability Act of 2017, passed the House on January 11, 2017 by a vote of 238 to 183.  Introduced by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) on January 3, 2017, H.R. 5 includes a series of bills that passed by the House in the last Congress, including 1) the Regulatory Accountability Act (H.R. 185), to require adoption of the least costly version of a rule; 2) the Separation of Powers Restoration Act (H.R. 4786), to repeal the Chevron and Auer doctrines, which provide judicial deference to federal agencies' statutory and regulatory interpretations; 3) the Small Business Regulatory Flexibilty Improvement Act (H.R. 527), to require federal agencies to analyze indirect economic effects of proposed rules on small businesses even if the business is not directly regulated by the rule; 4) the REVIEW (Require Evaluation Before Implementing Executive Wishlists) Act (H.R. 3437), to prohibit any "high-impact" rule from taking effect until final disposition of all actions seeking judicial review of the rule; 5) the ALERT (All Regulations Are Transparent) Act (H.R. 1759), to require federal agencies to submit to the Office of Management and Budget monthly online updates on each rule expected to be proposed or made final in the coming year; and 6) the Providing Accountability Through Transparency Act (H.R. 690), to require any proposed regulation to include the Internet address of a summary, "in plain language" and "of not more than 100 words in length," of every proposed rule.

On April 26, 2017, Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) introduced S. 951 - the Regulatory Accountabiliy Act of 2017 - a bill “to reform the process by which Federal agencies analyze and formulate new regulations and guidance documents.”  The bill cleared the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on May 17, 2017 by a vote of 9 to 5.  S. 951 is intended to be a companion to H.R. 5, the House version of the Regulatory Accountability Act – approved by the House on January 11, 2017 – which is composed of six bills passed by the House in the last Congress and includes among its provisions requirements for adoption of the least costly version of a rule and analysis of the indirect economic impacts of proposed rules on small businesses; a repeal of the Chevron and Auer doctrines, which provide judicial deference to federal agencies’ statutory and regulatory interpretations; and a prohibition against a “high-impact” rule taking effect until final disposition of all judicial challenges.  However, the sponsors of the Senate version of the Regulatory Reform Act have highlighted key differences between their bill and the House bill.  They note that S. 951 is a stand-alone bill (rather than a compilation of separate bills) that codifies executive orders by the five previous Presidents – orders “that have governed the regulatory process for decades.”  They also point out that S. 951 requires agencies to consider reasonable alternatives to the most expensive rules, with three alternatives presumed to be a reasonable number for consideration, and to select the most cost-effective rule unless the agency provides a detailed explanation of why it selected a less cost-effective rule.  S. 951, the co-sponsors say, also allows courts not only to review agencies’ compliance with rule-writing procedural requirements but also to remand rules to agencies where appropriate and, while it also overrides Auer, it does not affect Chevron deference.  A fourth key difference, say Portman and Heitkamp, is that S. 951 contains a savings clause to preserve specific authorizing laws that include rulemaking requirements or procedures that conflict with provisions of the bill.  The bill is co-sponsored by Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Joe Manchin (D-WV). 

Key Actions

May 17, 2017 - S. 951 was one of five regulatory reform bills cleared by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.  It passed by a vogte of 9 to 5.

April 26, 2017 – S. 951, the Regulatory Accountability Act of 2017, was introduced by Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND)

January 11, 2017 – After consideration of the bill, including a floor statement by the bill sponsor, Rep. Bob Goodlatte, the House approved H.R. 5 by a vote of 238-183.

January 3, 2017 – H.R. 5, the Regulatory Accountability Act of 2017, was introduced by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA).

 

Midnight Rules Relief Act (H.R. 21, S. 34)

Background

H.R. 21, the Midnight Rules Relief Act, was approved by the House on January 5, 2017 by a vote of 238 to 184.  Introduced by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) on January 3, 2017, the bill, which is identical to H.R. 5982 passed by the House in the last Congress, would amend the Congressional Review Act to allow Congress, through a joint resolution of disapproval, to overturn multiple “midnight rules” – those promulgated in the final days of a Presidential administration.  Under the law, the new President must sign off on any such joint resolution of disapproval; if s/he vetoes a resolution, Congress could override the veto with a two-thirds vote by the House and Senate. (January 20 of the following year).  A Senate companion to H.R. 21 - S. 34 - was introduced by Senator Ron Johnson on January 5, 2017.   A Senate companion bill, S. 21, was introduced January 4, 2017, by Senator Rand Paul (R-KY).  The bill cleared the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on May 17, 2017 by a vote of 8 to 6.  

Key Actions

May 17, 2017 - S. 34 was one of five regulatory reform bills cleared by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.  It passed by a party-line vote of 8 to 6.

January 5, 2017H.R. 21 passed the House by a vote of 238-184.

January 5, 2017 – Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) introduced a companion biill, S. 34, in the Senate.

January 3, 2017 – H.R. 21, the Midnight Rules Relief Act, was introduced by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA). 

 

REINS Act (H.R. 26, S. 21)

Background

H.R. 26, the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act, was approved by the House on January 5, 2017 by a vote of 237 to 187.  The bill was introduced by Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) on January 3, 2017.  H.R. 26 would require Congress to approve any proposed or interim final "major" regulation before it becomes effective.  The bill provides that votes on affected rules must occur within 70 legislative days however, if both chambers fail to act within this timeframe any rule in question would be tabled.  A “major” regulation was defined as one that the Office of Management and Budget finds has resulted in, or is likely to result in, an annual effect on the economy of $100,000,000 or more; a major increase in costs or prices for consumers, individual industries, federal, state, or local government agencies or geographic regions; or significant adverse impacts on competition, employment, investment, productivity, innovation or on the ability of United States-based enterprises to compete with foreign-based enterprises in domestic and export markets.  Of the amendments made to the bill during floor debate was one (offered by Rep. Luke Messer [R-IN]) to require each federal agency promulgating a new rule to completely offset its cost by amending or repealing an existing rule. Among the amendments that failed were ones offered by Democrats to exempt from the bill rules that result in reduced incidence of cancer, premature mortality, asthma attacks or respiratory disease in children; will reduce levels of lead in drinking water; and pertain to the protection of public health and safety. Also rejected was an amendment to require an accounting of the greenhouse gas emission impacts associated with a rule as well as an analysis of the impacts on low-income and 2 rural communities and, if the rule increases carbon dioxide by a certain amount or increases the risk of certain health impacts to low-income or rural communities, then the rule would be defined as a “major rule.”  A Senate companion bill, S. 21, was introduced January 4, 2017, by Senator Rand Paul (R-KY).  The bill cleared the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on May 17, 2017 by a vote of 8 to 6.  

Key Actions

May 17, 2017 - S. 21 was one of five regulatory reform bills cleared by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.  It passed by a party-line vote of 8 to 6.

January 5, 2017 H.R. 26 was passed by the House by a vote of 237-187.

January 4, 2017 –  Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) introduced a companion bill, S. 21.

January 3, 2017 – H.R. 26, the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act, was introduced by Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA).

 

Sunshine for Regulatory Decrees and Settlements Act (H.R. 469, S. 119)

Background

Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) and Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), on January 12, 2017, introduced companion bills aimed at what some call “sue-and-settle” consent decrees and settlement agreements.  The Sunshine for Regulatory Decrees and Settlements Act of 2017 – S. 119 and H.R. 469 – would require the use of alternative dispute resolution processes that include industry and other stakeholders in the negotiations.

Key Actions

July 12, 2017 - The House Judiciary Committee passed H.R 469 by a vote of 15 to 8.

January 12, 2017 – Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) and Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) introduced the Sunshine for Regulatory Decrees and Settlements Act - H.R. 469 and S. 119 - in the House and Senate.

 

Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act (S. 584, H.R 33)

Background

H.R. 33, the Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act, was introduced by by Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH) on January 3, 2017.  The bill requires federal agencies to analyze indirect economic effects of proposed rules on small businesses even if the business is not directly regulated by the rule.  A Senate companion to H.R. 33 - S. 584 - was introduced was introduced by Senator James Lankford (R-OK) on March 8, 2017.   The bill cleared the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on May 17, 2017 by a vote of 8 to 6.  

Key Actions

May 17, 2017 - S. 584 was one of five regulatory reform bills cleared by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.  The bill was approved by a party-line vote of 8 to 6.

March 8, 2017 – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) introduced a companion biill, S. 584, in the Senate.

January 3, 2017 – H.R. 33, Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act, was introduced by Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH). 

 
SCRUB Act (H.R. 998)

Background

The House of Representatives approved H.R. 998, the Searching for and Cutting Regulations that Are Unnecessary Burdensome (SCRUB) Act, on March 1, 2017 by a vote of 240 to 185.  The bill, which was introduced on February 9, 2017 by Rep. Jason Smith (R-MO), would establish a presidentially appointed, Senate-confirmed, nine-person Retrospective Regulatory Review Commission.  The Commission would be charged, over five and a half years, with identifying rules and sets of rules that should be repealed in order to lower the cost of regulation, with an overall goal of reducing the cumulative costs of federal regulations by at least 15 percent.  Rules prioritized for review by the Commission would include major rules that 1) have been in effect for more than 15 years, 2) impose paperwork burdens or unfunded mandates that could be reduced significantly without substantially diminishing regulatory effectiveness, 3) impose disproportionately high costs on small businesses or 4) could be strengthened in effectiveness while reducing regulatory costs.  Under an amendment proposed by Rep. Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA) and approved by a vote of 348 to 75, the Commission would be required to consider whether, and to what extent, the repeal of a rule or set of rules sould impact public health.  In addition, the bill would establish a "cut-go" process whereby federal agencies would be prohibited from issuing a new rule unless the agency first eliminates an eligible rule identified by the Commission that imposes equal or greater costs.  The bill authorizes up to $30 million to fund the Commission and its work.

Key Actions

March 1, 2017 – The House approved the H.R. 998, the SCRUB Act, by a vote of 240 to 185.

February 14, 2017 – The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee approved S. 998 by a vote of 22 to 17.

February 9, 2017 – Rep. Jason Smith (R-MO) introduced H.R. 998, the Searching for and Cutting Regulations that Are Unnecessary Burdensome (SCRUB) Act.

 

Regulatory Integrity Act (H.R. 1004)

Background

The House of Representatives approved, by a vote of 246 to 176, H.R. 1004, the Regulatory Integrity Act of 2017, on March 2, 2017.  The bill was introduced by Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI) on February 13, 2017.  H.R. 1004 would require federal agencies to list, in a prominent location, all of their pending regulatory actions and all public communications about those actions.  Further, the bill would prohibit agencies from soliciting public support for their proposed rules.

Key Actions

March 2, 2017 – The House approved H.R. 1004 by a vote of 246 to 176.

February 14, 2017 – The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee approved H.R. 1004 by a vote of 22 to 16.

February 13, 2017 – Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI) introduced H.R. 1004, the Regulatory Integrity Act of 2017.

 

OIRA Insight, Reform, and Accountability Act (H.R. 1009, S. 676)

Background

The House of Representatives approved, by a vote 241 to 184, H.R. 1009, the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs Insight, Reform, and Accountability Act.  The bill was introduced by Rep. Paul Mitchell (R-MI) on February 13, 2017.  H.R. 1009 would establish a working group within the Office of Management and Budget's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) to assist agencies in developing innovative and streamlined regulatory approaches and help small businesses with compliance.  A Senate companion to H.R 1009 - S. 676 - was introduced by Senator Mike Rounds (R-SD) on March 21, 2017.

Key Actions

March 21, 2017 – Rep. Mike Rounds (R-SD) introduced S. 676, the Senate companion to H.R. 1009, the OIRA Insight, Reform, and Accountability Act.

March 1, 2017 – The House approved H.R. 1009 by a vote of 241 to 184.

February 14, 2017 – The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee approved H.R. 1009 by a vote of 23 to 16.

February 13, 2017 – Rep. Paul Mitchell (R-MI) introduced H.R. 1009, the OIRA Insight, Reform, and Accountability Act.

 

Early Participation in Regulations Act (S. 579)

Background

S. 579, the Early Participation in Regulations Act, was introduced by Senator James Lankford (R-OH) on March 8, 2017.  The bill would amend the Administrative Procedures Acts to impose a mandate requiring all agencies to conduct an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, including specified analyses, for all pending major rules.   The bill cleared the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on May 17, 2017.

Key Actions

May 17, 2017 - S. 579 was one of five regulatory reform bills cleared by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. It passed by a vote of 11 to 3.

March 8, 2017 – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) introduced S. 579, the Early Particiation in Regulations Act.