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House bill would bring transparency to regulations

by Sam Rolley

Following years of regulatory abuse under the Obama administration, House lawmakers passed legislation this week that would require agencies to let American citizens in on the regulatory process.

The bill, called the Regulatory Integrity Act, would require agencies to publish information about forthcoming regulations, including information on the status and timeframe for completion of a proposed new rule along with a detailed description of the regulation.

In addition, the legislation would prohibit agencies from running campaigns designed to drum up support for new regulatory schemes. Any information agencies distribute about regulatory proposals would be published under the bill, including information about content and intended audiences of public communications efforts.

According to backer Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Mich.), the primary goal of the legislation is to remove politics from regulatory issues as much as possible.

“People need confidence that federal agencies — regardless of whether it is a Republican or Democratic administration — are open to their insights and constructive criticism,” he said.

The measure comes as part of a broader GOP regulatory reform agenda which includes efforts by President Donald Trump to walk back several Obama-era environmental and business regulations.

Trump last week signed an executive action setting up a federal task force to identify and eliminate the nation’s most burdensome regulations.

“Every regulation should have to pass a simple test,” Trump said. “Does it make life better or safer for American workers or consumers? If the answer is no, we will be getting rid of it — and getting rid of it quickly.”

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