Legal books lining the shelves of a library.

Regulatory Accountability Act

Under the guise of reg­u­la­to­ry reform, the Reg­u­la­to­ry Account­abil­i­ty Act (RAA) was intro­duced in the U.S. Sen­ate in April 2017. The pro­posed leg­is­la­tion would do the following:

  • Define a major rule” as a rule that the Office of Infor­ma­tion and Reg­u­la­to­ry Affairs (OIRA) con­cludes is like­ly to have an annu­al effect on the econ­o­my of $100 mil­lion or more, and a high-impact rule” as a rule with a like­ly annu­al eco­nom­ic effect of $1 bil­lion or more
  • Pre­vent judi­cial review of OIRA’s deter­mi­na­tion that a rule is a major rule” or a high-impact rule”
  • Poten­tial­ly sub­ject high-impact rules” and par­tic­u­lar major rules” to tri­al-type pro­ceed­ings before the rule could be adopted
  • Require agen­cies to adopt final rules that rep­re­sent the most cost-effec­tive alternative”
  • April 2017

    The Reg­u­la­to­ry Account­abil­i­ty Act (RAA) was intro­duced in the U.S. Senate.

  • June 2017

    In June 2017, a coali­tion of attor­neys gen­er­al from 11 states and the Dis­trict of Colum­bia sent a let­ter to Sen­ate lead­er­ship express­ing their strong oppo­si­tion to the RAA. In the let­ter, state attor­neys gen­er­al not­ed that tri­al-type hear­ings have long been rec­og­nized as an inef­fec­tive and inef­fi­cient means for pro­mul­gat­ing reg­u­la­tions, such as those pro­tect­ing Amer­i­cans from tox­ic chem­i­cals. They also expressed con­cern that the RAA’s require­ment that an agency adopt the most cost-effec­tive” rule was sim­i­lar to the type of vague require­ment in the Tox­ic Sub­stances Con­trol Act (TSCA) that the agency adopt the least bur­den­some alter­na­tive” that had effec­tive­ly stopped the Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency from reg­u­lat­ing chem­i­cals under TSCA. Last­ly, the let­ter not­ed that OIRA and fed­er­al agen­cies could escape judi­cial review of OIRA’s deter­mi­na­tion that a rule was high-impact” or major” and then sub­ject that rule to bur­den­some require­ments, such as the tri­al-type hearing.

  • Novem­ber 2018

    As of Novem­ber 2018, the Reg­u­la­to­ry Account­abil­i­ty Act has not moved toward passage.