Strong Agenda Set for Governmental Affairs Committee

Washington, DC–At a meeting today to help organize the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee’s agenda in the 105th Congress, Chairman Fred Thompson (R-TN) made it clear that the Committee would undertake a sweeping set of initiatives which would focus on federal oversight, reform of the regulation-writing process and making government more efficient and effective.

“The American people deserve and demand a government,” Thompson said, “which effectively and efficiently serves them, and does not add cost without adding value. They have every right to a common sense approach to the business of government.”

The Governmental Affairs Committee will build on the reform agenda of the 104th Congress and will strengthen its historic role of overseeing the structure and operations of the Executive Branch.

One of the first priorities of the Committee, Thompson said, will be to “bring more common sense into the regulatory process.” Right now the Code of Federal Regulations is about 130,000 pages long, and takes up more than 21 feet of shelf space. The regulations which are enumerated in these 200 volumes cost the average American family about $6,500 every year.

“Even well-intentioned laws can produce unsatisfactory results,” Thompson said. “I will encourage the Members of the Committee from both sides of the aisle to work together to improve the quality of scientific and technical information on which regulations are based. Better scientific and economic analysis will help agencies to find more sensible solutions under current laws. We need a clean environment, safe products and safe medications. But if we regulate smarter, we can have them and still make our government more effective, more efficient and more accountable than ever.”

Other areas where the Committee will provide leadership on regulatory reform will include the Congressional Review Act, which sets up expedited procedures for Congress to review most new final regulations, and regulatory accounting to help ensure that OMB provides a fair and objective report on the costs and benefits of regulation.