We heard a lot from the Presidential campaigns about regulations – not much of it good. So now that our elected officials are back in Washington, some want to put another layer of bureaucracy over those agencies that protect consumers. That just doesn’t make sense.
If this proposed Senate bill passes, it would create a regulatory bottleneck that could dramatically slow any and all rules coming out of the affected agencies, regardless of merit. We’re already waiting for dozens of rules to implement banking reforms that Americans desperately wanted and Congress approved. With this proposal, these waits could be endless.
The Independent Agency Regulatory Analysis Act would require agencies to complete detailed economic analyses before putting forward regulations. These independent agencies – which already have to carefully consider the economic implications of their actions – would then come under the scrutiny the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. With a staff of fewer than 50, this small office is already challenged to meet review deadlines for the agencies already under its purview. To extend its authority would simply lead to additional long delays for crucial consumer protection rules.
The proposal covers key agencies created to protect us from unscrupulous practices and unfair competition: The Federal Communications Commission encourages broadband adoption and oversees media competition; the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau protects us from predatory and deceptive lending practices; the Consumer Product Safety Commission monitors some 15,000 products, including toys, cribs, and strollers; and the Federal Trade Commission takes action when business practices are anti-competitive or deceptive.
It’s important that our watchdogs be fast-acting to respond to the latest schemes, tricks and unsafe products in the marketplace. This bill, which could get a hearing before the end of the year, would make government less responsive, not more. Common-sense rules that level the playing field for consumers without slowing economic growth shouldn’t be held up in another layer of bureaucracy. We simply can’t afford the wait.