“Truth in Regulating” Act Unanimously Approved by Governmental Affairs Committee

(Washington, DC) — The Governmental Affairs Committee today unanimously approved the “Truth in Regulating Act,” a measure offered by Chairman Fred Thompson (R-TN) and Ranking Member Joseph Lieberman (D-CT), which would promote effective congressional oversight on federal regulations. It will provide a process and resources for the General Accounting Office (GAO) to review the scientific and economic analysis underlying proposed major regulations.

Under a three-year pilot project established by the “Truth in Regulating Act,” a Committee from either house of Congress may ask the GAO to review proposed economically significant regulations. The GAO must submit a report within 180 days, allowing Congress ample time to express its views on the proposed regulation.

“This legislation will give us access to the important information that federal agencies use to make regulatory decisions — before the horse gets out of the barn,” said Senator Thompson. “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.”

Thompson continued, “This will make the regulatory process more transparent and more accountable. I hear about regulatory problems from people in Tennessee and around the country — state and local officials, farmers, schools, business owners, workers and their families. I hope this legislation will improve the efficiency and fairness of important regulations while contributing to the success of programs that we all value.”

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 alternatives and any regulatory analysis and federalism assessment; and

  • a summary of the results of the Comptroller General evaluation and its implications.

The Thompson/Lieberman amendment was based on S. 1244, a bill introduced by Senators Thompson and Blanche Lincoln (D-AR). The amendment was adopted by the Governmental Affairs Committee as a substitute to S. 1198, introduced by Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) in June 1999.

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