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Lankford, Johnson, Portman Want to Remove Unnecessary Regulations that Weakened Pandemic Preparedness

WASHINGTON, DC – Senators James Lankford (R-OK), chairman of the Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management, Ron Johnson (R-WI), chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and Rob Portman (R-OH), chairman of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, today introduced the Pandemic Preparedness, Response, and Recovery Act, which would help Congress repeal or modify regulations that have impeded our nation’s ability to rapidly respond to the coronavirus pandemic and/or that would impede a future response. Representative Virginia Foxx (R-NC) introduced the House companion bill, H.R. 8038.

“This pandemic has exposed areas of weakness in the federal government’s ability to respond effectively and efficiently to pandemics,” said Lankford. “I have heard from Oklahomans about the areas in which we could have been better prepared and more adaptable. This bill will help Congress accurately identify and actually address our weaknesses in preparation and our over regulation. This commonsense legislation empowers Congress to dig into the colossal Code of Federal Regulations and update it to serve the American people.”

“Reviewing outdated or burdensome regulations that hurt preparedness for the coronavirus pandemic is a responsibility Congress should embrace. This bill, based off the bipartisan work of Senators King and Sinema, would enable Congress to do that. I hope that we can work together to streamline government regulations that hindered preparedness for this pandemic or could negatively impact preparedness for a future pandemic,” said Johnson.

“I am proud to introduce the Pandemic Preparedness, Response, and Recovery Act along with Senators Lankford and Johnson. I have long advocated reforming our regulatory system so we can appropriately account for the costs and benefits of regulations. It’s never been more apparent that we need to better understand the barriers regulations place between the American people and their access to medication and health care and provide relief where we can do so safely. The bipartisan commission this bill would establish would give us an objective starting point for improving our regulatory system so that it better serves Americans both during future crises and their daily lives,” said Portman.

The Pandemic Preparedness, Response, and Recovery Act establishes an accountable, expert-led, commission to identify ineffective, unnecessary, or overly burdensome regulations that should be modified, consolidated, harmonized, or repealed to promote jobs and higher wages; reduce household expenses; improve economic performance and competitiveness; reduce compliance costs; encourage growth and innovation; improve competitiveness; and protect public health, safety, and welfare.

The bill would direct the commission to:

  • Prioritize regulations where modification, consolidation, harmonization, or repeal could assist in recovery from or continued response to adverse health and economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic and preparedness for, response to, or recovery from a future pandemic;
  • Review regulations that impose disproportionately high costs on small entities, impose substantial paperwork burdens, or could be strengthened in effectiveness while reducing regulatory costs; and
  • Prepare and submit to Congress a set of regulations with recommendations for modification, consolidation, or repeal.