Washington, DC — Senate Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Fred Thompson (R-TN) has introduced legislation to give Congress access to key data on which major regulations are based before the regulations go into effect.
?This information will support Congressional oversight to ensure regulations are efficient, effective, and fair,? Thompson said. ?It will also help Congress make sure that regulations follow congressional intent.?
Joining Thompson in introducing this bipartisan legislation are: Senators Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), George Voinovich (R-OH), Bob Kerrey (D-NE), John Breaux (D-LA) and Mary Landrieu (D-LA).
?This legislation will help Congress participate in federal agency rulemaking before the horse gets out of the barn,? Thompson said. ?So 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.?
The legislation is designed to make the regulatory process more transparent, more accountable, and more democratic. Under the three-year pilot project established by the ?Truth in Regulating Act of 1999,? a Committee of either house of Congress may ask the General Accounting Office (GAO) to review an economically significant rule as it is being developed. The GAO must submit a report within 180 days, allowing Congress ample time to decide whether it wants to disapprove the rule under the Congressional Review Act. This Act enables Congress to reject regulations under expedited procedures.
?I hope this legislation will encourage federal agencies to make better use of modern decision-making tools, such as risk assessment and benefit-cost analysis,? said Thompson. ?Currently, these important tools often are viewed simply as options — options that aren?t used as much or as well as they should be.?
The Comptroller General?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 alternative approaches that could achieve the goal in a more cost-effective manner or that could produce greater net benefits;
- the extent to which the rule would affect state or local governments; and
- a summary of how the results of the analysis of the Comptroller General differ, if at all, from the results of agency analyses.