COBRT and Partners Encourage Sen. Bennet to Co-Sponsor Draft Regulatory Improvement Act of 2015

January 27, 2016

The Honorable Michael Bennet
United States Senator
261 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator Bennet,

We are writing to encourage you to co-sponsor the draft Regulatory Improvement Act of 2015 (RIA) which has been developed by a bipartisan working group of Senators, led by Senators Lankford and Heitkamp, committed to improving how regulations are developed. The draft includes legislation that has been reported from the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee on a broadly bipartisan basis.  

The Regulatory Improvement Act is designed to ensure that federal regulations meet their intended goals in the most efficient and effective way possible. The provisions in the bill are consistent with recommendations made by a number of independent groups. If enacted, the RIA will not change any underlying rulemaking authority, nor will it necessarily lead to different regulatory outcomes. It would, however, update the 70-year old process by which major rules are developed.

For example, title III of the draft legislation would ensure that major rules are accompanied by the issuing agency’s plan for assessing how effectively the rule is accomplishing its regulatory objectives. This title codifies a retrospective review initiative launched by the Obama Administration. 

Title IV would promote earlier public engagement by requiring agencies to publish advance notices of proposed rulemaking for major rules (those expected to cost more than $100 million annually). The sooner an agency gets good suggestions for how to accomplish its regulatory objectives, the less chance that it will waste time and resources on sub-optimal approaches. 

Title II would clarify Presidential authority to require independent regulatory agencies to prepare regulatory impact analyses (RIAs) when proposing a new major rule, similar to that required of agencies covered by Executive Order 12866, originally issued by President Clinton. While some independent regulatory agencies today prepare RIAs, some do not and among those that do, the quality varies greatly. In order to ensure these agencies’ continued independence from the Executive Branch, a new office would be established within the Congressional Budget Office to oversee these analyses and help ensure consistent quality. The new office could not reject rules or review them for more than 90 days. 

Title V would largely codify existing OMB guidance for issuing “major” or “significant” guidance and provide greater public notice of an agency’s current guidance. Title I would authorize a bipartisan expert commission to review regulations that are at least 10 years old and to make recommendations to the Congress regarding changes to regulations that are outdated or counterproductive. 
We support a smarter, more modern approach to regulation that meets regulatory goals while also promoting innovation, economic growth and job creation. We believe the draft legislation represents an important step toward meeting those goals.

I am grateful for your attention to this issue and look forward to working with you and your staff on legislation that would make the U.S. regulatory system more efficient and effective.


Jeff Wasden
President, Colorado Business Roundtable
John A. Hayes
Chairman, President and CEO, Ball Corporation

Jacqueline Hinman
Chairman and CEO, CH2M

Kent Thiry
Chairman and CEO, DaVita HealthCare Partners Inc.

Terry Knight
General Manager of Control Solutions, GE Measurement & Control