Opening Statement of Ranking Member Tom Carper: “A Review of Regulatory Reform Proposals”

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs held the hearing, A Review of Regulatory Reform Proposals.” Below is the opening statement of Ranking Member Tom Carper (D-Del), as prepared for delivery:

“Good morning everyone.  Our thanks to each of you for joining us this morning.

“If I could turn briefly from the subject of today’s hearing, I would like to note that today is the second anniversary of the tragic shooting at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C., where 12 lives were lost and several others injured in a senseless act of violence.

“On this anniversary, we remember the victims, their loved ones, and all those impacted by this tragedy. We also remember the bravery of all those who came to the aid of others that day. This anniversary is a reminder of the important work we have to do in Congress and across the government to protect federal employees and federal facilities. It’s important not to let this moment pass without looking back in remembrance.

“One of the most important jobs of Congress is to help create a nurturing environment for job growth.  One of the ways we can do that is to have common-sense regulations that provide businesses with predictability they need.  When done in a smart way, regulations can help grow our economy.

“At the same time, regulations serve a number of other important public purposes.  They protect our public health and safety, and the environment.

“Though many of us don’t think about it on a daily basis, regulations play a role in our daily lives – and usually in positive ways.

“Regulations help Americans feel confident that the eggs or oatmeal we had for breakfast this morning won’t make us sick and the water we drink is clean.  They help make sure the appliances we use in our houses are safe.  Every time we get in a car or on a train, like many of us did today on our morning commute, we benefit from regulations that have reduced risk of injury or death.

“While there may sometimes be disagreements about certain rules, I believe everyone generally agrees that some regulation is necessary and good.

“I like to say that many of the laws Congress enacts can be likened to a skeleton.  The agencies then add the meat to the bones when they promulgate regulations. 

“I hope this hearing today can help highlight the already-extensive and lengthy process that agencies go through to implement regulations.  Let me use the Clean Power Plan as an example.  Not everyone likes this regulation but it responds to the widely-recognized problem we face on this planet with carbon emissions.  The Environmental Protection Agency went to extraordinary lengths over many years to engage in outreach with stakeholders, which resulted in more than 4.3 million comments on the proposed rule.  That resulted in a final rule that is more cost-effective than the originally proposed rule, while also protecting public health and the environment.

“I believe whatever we do here in Congress and on this Committee should help reduce burdens and increase transparency while achieving the greatest public benefit.  It should be our goal to have the most efficient, effective, and transparent regulatory process we can have.  We should ensure that process results in common-sense regulations.

“I think the legislative proposals that will be discussed today are well-intentioned. The Senators whose bills we will discuss are all thoughtful legislators.  And I am always willing to listen to new ideas.

“That having been said, I have some serious concerns about many of the bills we will be discussing today.

“I worry that many of these proposals focus too much on the costs of regulations, while ignoring the benefits.  Many of the proposals also would add additional hurdles to the regulatory process that would make it even more complicated and lead to significant regulatory delays, rather than help to make the process more efficient.

“I do appreciate all of the work that many members of this Committee have put into working on these proposals and I look forward to hearing from them and from our witnesses today.

“Regulatory reform in my mind is a lot like working toward a more perfect union.  It’s hard work and there are tough issues.  But we must always keep trying.  I look forward to trying to find some consensus today even though there will undoubtedly be some disagreements.”