CEI Releases Pro-Growth Regulatory Reform Agenda for the 118th Congress

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Today the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) offered a set of important policy reforms for the 118th Congress to consider when it convenes in January, focused on promoting economic growth by lowering regulatory barriers for consumers and businesses. The report, Free to Prosper: A Pro-Growth Agenda for the 118th Congress, identifies specific policy recommendations for the incoming Congress to respond to the challenges we face as a nation.

Hardships born from the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021 gave way to new challenges in 2022, including supply shocks that drastically increased energy prices and levels of inflation unseen since the early 1980s that have challenged consumers and American businesses. Free to Prosper offers regulatory reform ideas and economic policy proposals to both strengthen our economy as fears of recession loom and impose more transparency and accountability on government regulatory agencies.

“Today, too much of America is governed through back-door rules, as agencies issue thousands of rules every year, along with uncounted circulars, memoranda, and guidance of all kinds. Too many agencies have overextended their authority and claimed quasi-legislative powers,” said CEI President and CEO Kent Lassman. “With CEI’s agenda for the 118th Congress, our elected representatives can begin the process to reform a regulatory state that is largely out of reach from basic accountability. After more than 90 years of growing and mutating, it is time to overhaul the regulatory state and make room for dynamism. That reform, beginning in the 118th Congress, will create an America that is Free to Prosper for posterity.”

CEI’s congressional agenda offers ten policy areas to reform, along with a set of specific reforms for each (one example for each policy area listed below).

  1. Inflation – Ensure the Federal Reserve’s independence.
  2. Trade – Support tariff relief and work to reassert Congress’s tariff authority, which has long been unduly delegated to the executive branch.
  3. Banking and Finance – Phase out the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and do not replace them.
  4. Transportation – Help ensure that long-term upkeep of highways is proportionate with  use by shifting all transportation revenue and expenditure programs toward funding mechanisms like mileage-based user fees that reflect the user-pays—user-benefits principle.
  5. Civil Asset Forfeiture – Pass the Fifth Amendment Integrity Restoration (FAIR) Act (H.R. 2857, 117th Congress) to reform the forfeiture system to make it more equitable.
  6. Energy, Environment, and Climate – Begin oversight of energy, climate, and environmental spending in the Inflation Reduction Act and conduct investigations and hearings into how the funds appropriated are being spent by the various department and agencies.
  7. Antitrust – Place antitrust enforcement in one agency, the Department of Justice, and remove antitrust authority from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
  8. Online Speech and Section 230 – Oppose classifying social media platforms as common carriers for regulatory purposes.
  9. Broadband Connectivity – End the Universal Service Fund (USF) surcharge and fund the program via congressional appropriations instead.
  10. Labor and Employment – Oppose reclassification of contract workers as traditional employees.

View the report, Free to Prosper: A Pro-Growth Agenda for the 118th Congress, on cei.org.