Press Releases

Warner, Portman, Collins Introduce Bill to Require Cost Analysis of Agency Regulations

Legislation would bring independent agencies under the same burden-reducing principles that apply to other regulators

Jun 18 2015

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Mark Warner (D-VA), Rob Portman (R-OH) and Susan Collins (R-ME) today introduced bipartisan legislation to require independent agencies to analyze the costs and benefits of new regulations and tailor new rules to minimize unnecessary burdens on the economy.  Portman and Warner are the co-authors of this legislation and Collins is an original cosponsor.

“It’s important that the federal government strike an appropriate balance between ensuring vital public safeguards and imposing costly regulatory burdens,” Warner noted.  “This bipartisan legislation will help to ensure that, when agencies advance major regulations, they have a firm understanding about the costs and potential economic impact.”

“Despite exercising vast power over major sectors of our economy, independent agencies are exempt from commonsense requirements including analysis over how new regulations will impact jobs and the economy,” Portman stated. “Our bill fixes that by authorizing the president to bring them within the same regulatory review framework that applies to other agencies.  These bipartisan reforms will provide a more stable economic environment, promoting growth and job creation.”

 “This bipartisan legislation helps to ensure that our regulatory system effectively protects the public without unduly burdening our economy with costly, untested regulations.  This bill will fill an important hole in our regulatory system and require that new regulations introduced by independent agencies are properly scrutinized and that the potential impacts to our economic system are fully evaluated,” said Collins

For 30 years, presidents of both parties have required agencies to scrutinize the costs and benefits of major new regulations, but this process has always exempted independent agencies, such as the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the National Labor Relations Board, and the Federal Communications Commission, among others. The Portman-Warner bill would fill that gap by authorizing the president to bring independent agencies into the same analysis and review process that governs other regulators.  

The need for this reform is obvious.  According to government records, out of the 18 major final rules issued by independent agencies in 2013, not one was based on a complete, quantified cost-benefit analysis.  The same was true in 2012— 18 major rules, zero with a complete cost-benefit analysis.  The figure was 17 and zero in both 2011 and 2010.

There is broad support for this reform proposal.  The bill has been endorsed by legal scholars, and former heads and senior officials of independent regulatory agencies.