A new report from the Competitive Enterprise Institute tallies the huge and growing cost federal regulations impose on American businesses and families – $1.939 trillion annually – and offers a set of reforms aimed at making our government more accountable.
“Rules made by federal agencies impose a cost of government that extends well beyond what Washington taxes,” said Wayne Crews, author of Ten Thousand Commandments: A Snapshot of the Federal Regulatory State. “Federal environmental, safety and health, social, and economic regulations grip the economy, making it needlessly harder and more expensive to run a household or business in this country.”
Exacerbating the problem is the more recent “whole of government” mandate initiated by the Biden administration that directs federal agencies to prioritize progressive political goals, like “equity” and climate change, unrelated to and on top of the agency mission set by Congress.
“Congress should start preparing now for substantial reforms to wrangle regulations back under control and put Congress back in charge,” said Crews.
The report urges the 118th Congress to begin now to lay the groundwork for specific reforms to:
- Vote on rules – Require congressional approval of significant or controversial agency rules before they become binding.
- Stop crisis policymaking – Pass an Abuse of Crisis Prevention Act to prevent abuse of “emergency” declarations.
- Cut the unnecessary – Identify which federal agencies or programs to eliminate or at least shrink their budgets.
- Exercise oversight – Launch hearings on the proper watchdog role of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) in reviewing the costs and benefits of proposed regulations;
- Require assessment – Prevent the current and future administrations from weakening a longtime requirement that the White House Office of Management and Budget assess the economic impact of new regulations;
- Require report cards – Require annual regulatory transparency report cards that help the public find out important information, like which agencies failed to track their costs-versus-benefits to society.
- Sunset rules – Pass legislation requiring an expiration date so rules don’t just exist in perpetuity for no reason.
- Empower a commission – Set up a regulatory reduction commission to identify unneeded regulations to eliminate.
- Automate rejection – Creating an “Office of No” tasked with making a case against new and existing regulations.