Rounds Introduces Bill to Strengthen Congressional Insight and Accountability on Federal Regulations

WASHINGTON—U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) today introduced legislation to strengthen congressional insight and accountability within the regulatory process. The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) Insight, Reform and Accountability Act of 2017 would give OIRA statutory authority to conduct reviews of regulations by codifying into law executive orders establishing such authority, authority that cannot be rescinded or limited by future presidencies. Additionally, it would expand the role of OIRA in the regulatory process and authorize OIRA to review rules proposed by certain independent federal agencies. 

“Overregulation is a hidden tax that is stifling economic growth and productivity in America,” said Rounds. “Even more concerning, the regulations coming out of Washington are being promulgated by unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats, rather than our elected representatives. The OIRA Insight, Reform and Accountability Act would bring to light more rules being promulgated by independent agencies and give a stronger voice to state, local and tribal governments in challenging the rules before they are finalized.

. We believe these measures will increase transparency and help protect South Dakota families from duplicative, unnecessary and overly-burdensome federal regulations.”

The OIRA Insight, Reform and Accountability Act was introduced by Rep. Paul Mitchell (R-Mich.) earlier this year and passed the House on March 1, 2017.

Other provisions of The OIRA Insight, Reform and Accountability Act:

  • Extends the requirement for regulatory review to independent agencies.
  • Requires that OIRA issue reports on its reviews of legal requirements.
  • Requires OIRA to gather input from state, local and tribal governments and the public on the effects of regulations and opportunities for improving the process.
  • Requires OIRA to convene a working group, consisting of the OIRA Administrator, agency representatives and other officials designated by the Administrator, to serve as a forum to identify and analyze regulatory issues.
  • Requires the administrator provide agency-wide advice and guidance on best practices to develop regulations.
  • Requires OIRA to publish a Unified Agenda twice a year detailing all regulatory actions under development or review. OIRA must also issue guidance to create clear definitions of status and any other term as appropriate.
  • Requires that agencies annually submit to OIRA the significant regulatory actions planned for the following fiscal year. The plans will also list regulations identified as unnecessary, duplicative or burdensome and describe the agency’s efforts to review existing regulations—all of which will be subject to OIRA review.
  • Requires OIRA make publicly available all information provided by the agency, the result of OIRA’s review, and a red-line of changes made during the review.