Requiring Formal Rulemaking Is a Thinly Veiled Attempt to Halt Regulation

by Bill Funk | May 22, 2017

Originally published on The Regulatory Review by CPR Member Scholar William Funk.

Professor Kent Barnett recently opined in The Regulatory Review that formal rulemaking really is not that bad and may actually be a good thing in certain circumstances. His argument deserves closer review because the proposed Regulatory Accountability Act (RAA) would require the equivalent of formal rulemaking—or what the bill calls a "public hearing." Barnett may well be right to suggest that in some situations the costs of formal rulemaking could be justified, but he could not be more wrong to argue that the circumstances that would trigger formal rulemaking under the RAA are among those situations.

As Barnett acknowledges, the U.S. Supreme Court, scholars, policy makers, and other interested parties all have condemned formal rulemaking. Why? Because formal rulemaking utilizes a judicial, trial-like procedure to adopt rules that are legislative, not adjudicative, in nature. Therefore, its procedural requirements are fundamentally at odds with the nature of legislative decision-making.

Ever since the beginning of the last century, when the Supreme Court decided cases such as Londoner v. Denver and Bi-Metallic Investment Company v. State Board of Equalization, the law has recognized the essential difference between proceedings that decide adjudicative facts applicable to a particular person, and proceedings applying more general and universal legislative facts. Even the authors of the Administrative Procedure ...

Ahead of Markup, CPR Member Scholars Voice Concerns over the Senate Regulatory Accountability Act

by James Goodwin | May 16, 2017
Today, 27 Member Scholars of the Center for Progressive Reform, leading academics who specialize in administrative law and regulatory policy, submitted a letter to Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Ron Johnson and Ranking Member Claire McCaskill outlining their serious concerns with the Senate Regulatory Accountability Act. That bill is among several aimed at undermining our system of regulatory safeguards that are set to be marked up by the committee at its business meeting on Wednesday. Others set ...

Anything but Moderate: The Senate Regulatory Accountability Act of 2017

by James Goodwin | May 02, 2017
Today, Center for Progressive Reform Member Scholars and staff are releasing a comprehensive analysis of the Senate Regulatory Accountability of 2017 (S. 951), which Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) introduced last week. Our analysis explains how S. 951 would drastically overhaul the Administrative Procedure Act, which has successfully guided agency enforcement of public safeguards for over 70 years. A summary of the key findings of the analysis is also available.  The bill is the latest legislation to ...

The Regulatory Accountability Act: Putting the Screws to Health, Safety and Environmental Regulation

by Sidney Shapiro | September 23, 2011
Rep. John Dingell (D-Michigan) once remarked, “I’ll let you write the substance … you let me write the procedure, and I’ll screw you every time.” Legislation introduced yesterday in the Senate by Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), and Susan Collins (R-Maine) and in the House by Reps. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and Collin Peterson (D-Minnesota) to amend the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) proves Rep. Dingell knew what he was talking about. The APA is the law that governs the way the ...

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