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Farmers, Ranchers Call for Senate Action on Regulatory Reform

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A Farm Bureau-backed bill that would make much-needed changes to the federal rulemaking process could be considered by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee in the next few weeks.

The Regulatory Accountability Act of 2017 (S. 951) would make fundamental reforms to the Administrative Procedure Act. Specifically, the measure would require a cost-benefit analysis of proposed regulations, invite early public participation on major rules and require federal agencies to disclose the information they rely upon.

“When the government proposes rules, we should all have ample opportunity to evaluate and comment on the proposals. All too often, this doesn’t happen. Agencies must engage in greater outreach and do so sooner in the process. Increased transparency and disclosure can only help to instill greater confidence in the system. That confidence is too often lacking today,” said American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall in a statement released soon after the Regulatory Accountability Act was introduced.

In addition, the bill, sponsored by Sens. Robert Portman (R-Ohio) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), would codify key bipartisan regulatory executive orders; require federal agencies to build in an automatic review for the most significant rules at least once every 10 years; and require federal agencies to follow a more evidence-based approach in crafting rules that will cost more than $1 billion annually.

The House earlier this year passed its own regulatory reform bill. With the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee poised to mark up the Regulatory Accountability Act, Farm Bureau is urging farmers and ranchers to contact their senators and ask them to act now on regulatory reform.

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