Thompson Announces Final Congressional Passage of Truth in Regulating Act

WASHINGTON, DC ? Senate Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Fred Thompson (R-TN) announced that the House of Representatives late yesterday passed on suspension the Truth in Regulating Act, S. 1198, legislation to promote effective Congressional oversight of federal regulations. Based on the concept of congressional review of proposed agency regulations championed by Representative Sue Kelly (R-NY), this legislation would provide a process and resources for the General Accounting Office (GAO) to review the scientific and economic analysis underlying proposed major regulations. After the Senate passed S. 1198 by unanimous consent in May, Chairman Dan Burton (R-IN) of the Committee on Government Reform advanced the bill through the House. The bill will now go to the White House.

“In a real sense, this legislation not only gives people the right to know; it gives them the right to see — to see how the government works, or doesn?t,” Senator Thompson said. “The Truth in Regulating Act creates the capability within GAO to analyze the science and economics behind regulations proposed by the executive branch. This will allow Congress to weigh in effectively for the first time on proposed regulations. S. 1198 will give us access to the important information that federal agencies use to make regulatory decisions?before the horse gets out of the barn.

“Congresswoman Sue Kelly deserves a lot of credit for her innovative thinking and hard work on this legislation,” Thompson added. “Thanks to her efforts, we can expect more efficient and fair regulations, and we can improve important programs that we all value.”

Under the three-year pilot project established by the “Truth in Regulating Act,” a Committee from either House of Congress may ask the GAO to review and report on proposed economically significant regulations in no later than 180 days, allowing Congress ample time to express its views on the proposed regulation. GAO?s independent analysis of the rule would have to include:

an analysis of the potential benefits of the rule;

the potential costs of the rule;

any alternatives and any regulatory analysis or federalism assessment; and

a summary of the results of the evaluation and its implications.

The Truth in Regulating Act was based on a bill sponsored by Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) and a similar measure sponsored by Senators Thompson and Blanche Lincoln (D-AR). Certain changes were made to S. 1198 in collaboration with Senator Joe Lieberman, Ranking Member of the Governmental Affairs Committee, before the bill passed the Senate by unanimous consent. Representatives Kelly and David McIntosh (R-IN) sponsored companion legislation in the House.

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