(Washington, DC) ? Senate Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Fred Thompson (R-TN) announced that yesterday evening the Senate unanimously approved important regulatory reform legislation, the Truth in Regulating Act, which will help Congress and the public get access to important information that federal agencies use to make regulatory decisions.
“The public?s confidence in government remains low,” said Senator Thompson. “Some of that lack of trust is because our regulatory process is missing important opportunities to achieve greater benefits at less cost.”
The legislation, S. 1198, will establish a 3-year pilot project to support Congressional oversight to ensure that important regulatory decisions are efficient, effective, and fair. Under the legislation, a Committee Chairman or Ranking Member of either House of Congress may request the General Accounting Office (GAO) to review the cost-benefit analysis or risk assessment that is the basis of a proposed major regulation. The GAO shall submit a report on the regulation no later than 180 calendar days after a committee request is received. This will help Congress to engage in oversight to ensure that the regulation ultimately is sensible and consistent with Congressional intent.
“Through the GAO, which serves as Congress? eyes and ears, this legislation will give Congress and the public the ability to see how government works, or doesn?t,” continued Senator Thompson. “This will make the regulatory process more clear, more accountable, and more democratic.”
The Governmental Affairs Committee has reviewed and developed a voluminous record showing that our regulatory process is not working as well as intended. The GAO has done important studies for the Committee and others showing that agency practices in cost-benefit analysis, risk assessment, and in meeting transparency and disclosure requirements of laws and executive orders need significant improvement.
On November 3, 1999, the Truth in Regulating Act was unanimously approved by the full Governmental Affairs Committee. A Thompson/Lieberman amendment was approved as a substitute to S. 1198, a bill introduced by Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) in June 1999.
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