For the past several years Ohio Senator Rob Portman has led the push for bi-partisan federal regulatory reform. Earlier this year, Sen. Portman introduced S. 951, legislation called the Regulatory Accountability Act (RAA). Unlike previous Congresses, the 115th Congress has a real chance to make this important regulatory reform a reality.
In part, the RAA is aimed at codifying executive orders that most agencies are already required to follow and helping Congress reclaim legislative powers delegated to agencies over the past few decades. It’s about agencies being more transparent by involving the public early on and using the best data to ensure they produce sound quality regulations.
Some recent examples of federal agency overreach include:
- Officials at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rammed through a change to the Clean Water Act that greatly expands the water (and land) areas regulated by the federal government, rather than the states. The EPA completely ignored the concerns of farmers, businesses, state and local governments, property owners, other federal agencies and Congress.
- In 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency, despite public outcry, reduced the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Ozone from 75 parts per billion to 70 parts per billion. This regulation but hundreds of Ohio counties in nonattainment, costing millions of dollars in compliance costs and hundreds of jobs around the state.
The Regulatory Accountability Act updates the Administrative Procedure Act which became law in 1946, and has not been updated since its implementation. That’s over 70 years ago; think about how drastically our country has changed in 70 years. Think about how products, technology, and industry have changed to better accommodate the public in the past 70 years – why shouldn’t our government do the same?
This bipartisan legislation currently has two Democrat co-sponsors, Senators Heidi Heitkamp (ND) and Joe Manchin (WV). In order to reform this 70 year old legislation, and to sign the RAA into law it needs support from six more Democrats, and Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown is one of them. This bill is an opportunity for Ohio’s senators to work together, to throw partisanship out the window, and to protect the constituents that put them both in office.
The citizens of Ohio have a chance to reform how federal agencies impose regulation on them by asking Senator Brown to join his fellow Ohio Senator Portman and support the Regulatory Accountability Act. The time for action is now.