Regulatory bill draws criticism

Published 10:41 am Thursday, June 29, 2017

Portman touts regulatory analysis act, but group warns of danger

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, introduced legislation on Tuesday that would require “independent regulatory agencies to analyze the costs and benefits of new regulations and tailor new rules to minimize unnecessary burdens on the economy.”

Portman has touted the Independent Agency Regulatory Analysis Act as a way to remove “burdensome” regulations that hold back business growth and job creation.

“We need smart, predictable regulation in this country,” Portman told reporters, “but too many burdensome regulations from independent agencies are holding America’s employers back from creating much-needed jobs for hard working Ohioans.”

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Portman’s new bill would require independent agencies to analyze how any new regulations might impact jobs before moving forward.

But critics of the new bill, and Portman’s Regulatory Accountability Act introduced earlier this year, say that the rules could hogtie agencies that were created to safeguard public health and safety, guard against economic uncertainty, or ensure fair access to communication infrastructure, not to create jobs.

The advocacy group Public Citizen released an ad in Cincinnati markets that highlighted incidents like a toddler sickened by salmonella contaminated food, and children killed because of inadequate car safety features, to criticize Portman’s regulatory bills. They also claimed that regulations designed to “ensure we have clean air, lead-free water… and other basic protections,” could be endangered by the bill.

“Portman should stand up for families and small businesses in Ohio by standing up to corporate special interests,” said Chuck Lynd, director of the Support Our Local Economy coalition and treasurer of the Ohio Sustainable Business Council, in a press release, “not by putting the health and safety of our children at risk by pushing legislation that allows corporations to cut corners.”

The original RAA seeks to reform the regulatory process by requiring the same cost-benefit analysis across agencies, “providing a more rigorous examination of facts underlying the most expensive rules,” according to a release from Portman’s office.

Independent agencies that could be impacted by the new legislation include the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the National Labor Relations Board, the Federal Communications Commission, and others.