To codify and modify regulatory requirements of Federal agencies.
IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
February 15, 2011
Mr. ROBERTS (for himself, Mr. BARRASSO, and Mr. COATS) introduced the
following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on
Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
To codify and modify regulatory requirements of Federal agencies.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the
United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the `Regulatory Responsibility for our Economy
Act of 2011'.
SEC. 2. DEFINITIONS.
(1) the term `agency' means any authority of the United States that
(A) an agency as defined under section 3502(1) of title 44, United
States Code; and
(B) shall include an independent regulatory agency as defined under
section 3502(5) of title 44, United States Code;
(2) the term `regulation'--
(A) means an agency statement of general applicability and future
effect, which the agency intends to have the force and effect of
law, that is designed to implement, interpret, or prescribe law
or policy or to describe the procedure or practice requirements
of an agency; and
(i) regulations issued in accordance with the formal rulemaking
provisions of sections 556 and 557 of title 5, United States Code;
(ii) regulations that pertain to a military or foreign affairs
function of the United States, other than procurement regulations
and regulations involving the import or export of non-defense
articles and services; or
(iii) regulations that are limited to agency organization, management,
or personnel matters;
(3) the term `regulatory action' means any substantive action by an
agency (normally published in the Federal Register) that promulgates
or is expected to lead to the promulgation of a final regulation,
including notices of inquiry, advance notices of proposed rulemaking,
and notices of proposed rulemaking; and
(4) the term `significant regulatory action' means any regulatory
action that is likely to result in a regulation that may--
(A) have an annual effect on the economy of $100,000,000 or more
or adversely affect in a material way the economy, a sector of the
economy, productivity, competition, jobs, the environment, public
health or safety, or State, local, or tribal governments or communities;
(B) create a serious inconsistency or otherwise interfere with an
action taken or planned by another agency;
(C) materially alter the budgetary impact of entitlements, grants,
user fees, or loan programs or the rights and obligation of recipients
(D) add to the national debt; or
(E) raise novel legal or policy issues arising out of legal mandates,
the President's priorities, or the principles set forth in this
SEC. 3. AGENCY REQUIREMENTS.
(a) Federal Regulatory System- The Federal regulatory system shall--
(1) protect the public health, welfare, safety, and the environment
of the United States, especially those promoting economic growth,
innovation, competitiveness, and job creation;
(2) be based on the best available science and information;
(3) allow for public participation and an open exchange of ideas;
(4) promote predictability and reduce uncertainty, including adherence
to a clearly articulated timeline for the release of regulatory documents
at all stages of the regulatory process;
(5) identify and use the best, most innovative, and least burdensome
tools for achieving regulatory ends;
(6) take into account benefits and costs, both quantitative and qualitative;
(7) ensure that regulations are accessible, consistent, written in
plain language, and easy to understand; and
(8) measure, and seek to improve, the actual results of regulatory
(b) Requirements- Each agency shall--
(1) propose or adopt a regulation only upon a reasoned determination
that the benefits of the regulation justify the costs of the regulation
to the extent permitted by law;
(2) tailor regulations of the agency to impose the least burden on
society, consistent with obtaining regulatory objectives, taking into
account, among other things, the costs of cumulative regulations;
(3) select, in choosing among alternative regulatory approaches, those
approaches that maximize net benefits, including potential economic,
environmental, public health and safety, and other advantages, distributive
impacts, and equity;
(4) specify performance objectives, rather than specifying the behavior
or manner of compliance that regulated entities are required to adopt;
(5) identify and assess available alternatives to direct regulation,
including providing economic incentives to encourage the desired behavior,
such as user fees or marketable permits, or providing information
upon which choices can be made by the public; and
(6) use the best available techniques to quantify anticipated present
and future benefits and costs.
SEC. 4. PUBLIC PARTICIPATION.
(a) In General- Regulations shall be--
(1) adopted through a process that involves public participation;
(2) based, to the extent consistent with law, on the open exchange
of information and perspectives among State, local, and tribal officials,
experts in relevant disciplines, affected stakeholders in the private
sector, and the public as a whole.
(b) Opportunity To Participate- Each agency shall--
(1) provide the public with an opportunity to participate in the regulatory
(2) as authorized by law, afford the public a meaningful opportunity
to comment through the Internet on any proposed regulation, with a
comment period that shall begin on the date on which the proposed
regulation is published in the Federal Register and be not less than
60 days, unless the relevant regulation is designated by the Administrator
of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs to be an emergency
(3) provide, for both proposed and final rules, timely online access
to the rulemaking docket on regulations.gov, including relevant scientific
and technical findings, in an open format that can be easily searched
and downloaded; and
(4) for proposed rules, provide access to include, to the extent permitted
by law, an opportunity for public comment on all pertinent parts of
the rulemaking docket, including relevant scientific and technical
(c) Seeking Affected Parties- Before issuing a notice of proposed rulemaking,
each agency shall, where appropriate, seek the views of those who are
likely to be affected, including those who are likely to benefit from
and those who are potentially subject to such rulemaking.
(d) Delay of Implementation-
(1) IN GENERAL- An agency shall delay implementation of an interim
final rule until final disposition of a challenge is entered by a
court in the United States, if--
(A) the agency excepted the rule from notice and public procedure
under section 553(b)(B) of title 5, United States Code; and
(B) the agency exception of the rule described under paragraph (1)
is challenged in a court in the United States.
(2) LENGTH OF DELAY- If implementation of an interim final rule is
delayed under paragraph (1), the delay shall continue until a final
disposition of the challenge is entered by the court.
SEC. 5. INTEGRATION AND INNOVATION.
(a) Findings- Congress finds that--
(1) some sectors and industries face a significant number of regulatory
requirements, some of which may be redundant, inconsistent, or overlapping;
(2) greater coordination across agencies should reduce these requirements,
thus reducing costs and simplifying and harmonizing rules.
(b) Promotion of Innovation- In developing regulatory actions and identifying
appropriate approaches, each agency shall--
(1) promote coordination, simplification, and harmonization; and
(2) identify means to achieve regulatory goals that are designed to
SEC. 6. FLEXIBLE APPROACHES.
(a) In General- Each agency shall identify and consider regulatory approaches
that reduce burdens, especially economic burdens, and maintain flexibility
and freedom of choice for the public.
(b) Contents- The approaches described under subsection (a) shall include
warnings, appropriate default rules, disclosure requirements, and the
provision of information to the public in a form that is clear and intelligible.
SEC. 7. SCIENCE.
Each agency shall ensure the objectivity of any scientific and technological
information and processes used to support the regulatory actions of
SEC. 8. RETROSPECTIVE ANALYSES OF EXISTING RULES.
(a) Retrospective Analyses-
(1) IN GENERAL- To facilitate the periodic review of existing significant
regulatory actions, agencies shall consider how best to promote retrospective
analysis of rules that may be outmoded, ineffective, insufficient,
or excessively burdensome, and to modify, streamline, expand, or repeal
such regulations in accordance with what has been learned.
(2) AGREEMENT- Once every 5 years, each agency may enter into an agreement
with a qualified private organization to conduct the retrospective
analysis described in paragraph (1) of the agency.
(3) PUBLICATION ONLINE- Any retrospective analyses conducted under
this subsection, including supporting data, shall be published online.
(A) IN GENERAL- Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment
of this Act, each agency shall develop and submit to the appropriate
congressional committees a preliminary plan for reviewing significant
regulatory actions issued by the agency, consistent with law, under
which the agency shall review its existing significant regulatory
actions once every 5 years to determine whether such regulations
should be modified, streamlined, expanded, or repealed so as to
make the regulatory program of the agency more effective or less
burdensome in achieving the regulatory objectives.
(B) REPEAL- If the plan described in subparagraph (A) includes suggestions
for needed repeals a timeline for such repeals shall also be included
in the plan.
(2) REPORT- Upon completion of a review under a plan submitted under
paragraph (1), each agency shall submit to the appropriate congressional
committees a report that--
(A) describes the outcome of the review, including which regulations
were modified, streamlined, expanded, or repealed;
(B) describes the reasons for the modifications, streamlining, expansions,
or repeals described in subparagraph (A); and
(C) in any case where an agency did not take action, describes the
reasons why the agency did not take action to modify, streamline,
expand, or repeal any significant regulatory actions.