almost) all of Congress as his audience during his State of the Union address next Tuesday evening. Given that platform, there are many bills and efforts before Congress the President should highlight to spur action on the part of the legislative branch. The following is a list of 7 efforts, bills, and reforms that CEI experts have identified as key to a more free and fair society, and are policy fixes that only Congress can accomplish.
- Congress should disapprove the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) harmful small dollar or payday loan rule by taking up the bipartisan HJ Res 122. This Joint Resolution introduced in December 2017 would reverse the rule. Even though the CFPB has announced it will reconsider the rule, Congress should provide important oversight for this unaccountable agency by disapproving this ill-conceived regulation that would eliminate 75% of small dollar loans for those who need them most.
- Congress should make it a priority to pass a number of important regulatory reform bills, including the recently introduced Guidance Out Of Darkness (GOOD) Act in the Senate and House, the House-passed Regulatory Accountability Act, the House-passed Regulatory Integrity Act, the House-passed Searching for and Cutting Regulations that are Unnecessarily Burdensome (SCRUB) Act, and the House-passed Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act. These bills would bring transparency to regulatory guidance documents, restore proper congressional oversight of federal agencies, and require that agencies review the impact of regulations for their effectiveness, among other key reforms. Congress should do all it can to reassert and reclaim its constitutional Article I authority.
- Congress should sunset the counterproductive renewable fuel standard after 2022 so that competition and consumer preference, not central planning and political pressure, determine which fuels succeed or fail in the U.S. marketplace. As CEI’s energy and environment experts have said, Congress should in the meantime “[f]reeze the renewable fuel standard’s blending targets below the ‘blend wall’—the quantity of ethanol that can be sold domestically given the incompatibility of mid- and high-ethanol blends with the vast majority of vehicles and infrastructure, and anemic consumer demand for such blends because of their inferior fuel economy.”
- The Senate should reform the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and provide access to more capital for more people by passing the Financial CHOICE Act. The House passed this Dodd-Frank reform bill in July 2017 and the Senate should follow suit soon. The CHOICE Act will assist in capital formation; reduce the regulatory burden and make regulators accountable by reforming the Federal Reserve, the CFPB, and other regulators, while allowing meaningful relief from regulation for smaller institutions. It will also provide a better solution to the too-big-to-fail problem.
- The Senate should follow the House and pass the bipartisan Save Local Business Act. This bill passed the House in November 2017 and would relieve job creators from near-unlimited liability and uncertainty caused by National Labor Relations Board changes to industry-standard rules on when two businesses are held jointly liable for workplace rules and policies. Job creators should spend their time thinking how to better serve their customers and employees, not in fear of unexpected lawsuits.
- Congress should support the corporatization of air traffic control as proposed in the 21st Century Aviation Innovation, Reform, and Reauthorization (AIRR) Act. It is the President’s own stated priority to provide this much needed update to our nation’s outdated and outmoded air traffic control system. This reform will save taxpayers $10 billion annually, promote safety, and bring American airspace into the 21st century.
- Congress should repeal the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) of 1992 and let states decide if they will allow sports betting within their borders. PASPA prevents states from legalizing and regulating sports gambling. Almost every state has some form of legalized gambling and there is a demonstrated demand in sports betting, but given current law much of this interest is relegated to the black market. Repealing PASPA would allow states to regulate and legalize sports betting on their own terms.
For a comprehensive list of priorities CEI experts think Congress can accomplish, read “Free to Prosper: A Pro-Growth Agenda for the 115th Congress.”