04.27.17

Senator Lankford Applauds Regulatory Action of Congress and President Trump’s First 100 Days

Lankford, “Congress has passed now 13 Congressional Review Acts.”

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WASHINGTON, DC –Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today delivered a speech on the floor of the Senate to applaud the regulatory actions of Congress and President Trump’s First 100 Days. The President has signed into law a historic 13 Congressional Review Acts to reverse the "midnight regulations" imposed in the final days of the previous administration. Before this year, only one midnight regulation had ever been rejected. According to the American Action Forum these actions have saved the American people $4.1 billion in regulatory expense and a staggering 44.9 million hours of paperwork.

Lankford also used today’s speech to urge the Congress to pursue budget reform, in light of the numerous appropriation and budget failures and constant continuing resolutions, omnibus bills, and government shutdown deadlines.

Excerpts on Regulatory Action:

…there is a lot of conversation about all that's moving this week in the Senate and in the House, and in the Executive branch. A lot of conversation about 100 days. It is a look-back, and it is reasonable for Americans to look back and see the beginning of a new presidency and the beginning of a new session of Congress has begun. What's already happened? There's been quite a bit, but let me just highlight one specific area because I want to highlight an area that has moved and highlight an area that has not. What has moved is a lot of conversation about regulation.

When I walked into Congress just a few years ago, I had a lot of people in my state that would catch me and ask for one specific thing. They said, I don't want anything other than ‘make it stop.’ Because every time they get news, every time they open something up from an association, and try to track something, all they got was a new regulation. Some of them were large and some of them were small. It seemed like every time they opened up the mail, they had a new requirement from some entity that they had never heard of…  a thousand miles away telling them how to be able to operate their business or submit some new form. Whether you're a school or a hospital or small business or a large business, whether you're doing manufacturing or service oriented or technology, the flood of regulations coming out are of Washington, D.C. just caused people around my state to say ‘make it stop.’

A dramatic shift happened starting January 20 of this year when the administration stepped in and for a moment said pause on regulations. And literally the nation can take a deep breath. They didn't turn anything back. They didn't turn anything off. America didn't become less safe. But they asked a simple question, ‘How can more people actually get involved in the process and before regulation came out, we make sure, number one, it's consistent with the law and number two, the people that are affected by it get a chance to raise their hand and say when you do a regulation, make sure you consider this. It doesn't seem unreasonable. If we're going to be a nation by the people, of the people, and for the people, it's probably a good idea to have people involved in the process of the regulations that affect them.

Before this year, there's been only one time in the past decade since the Congressional Review Act was ever used. That Congressional Review Act was actually due to a fellow Oklahoman named Don Nickles, who in the Senate years ago passed a simple piece of legislation to say that if a regulation is promulgated by an administration, any administration that's not consistent with the desires of Congress, that Congress could pull it back out in the first few days, after it was passed, and most of the time it's legislative days, it's actually months in calendar time. In the first few months it's in existence, congress can pull the regulation out, look at it and say is this consistent with what congress had passed. If it’s not, Congress would have a fast-track process to be able to look at it and say it's inconsistent with what Congress desired to have when it passed the law. It had to go through the House, the Senate and then the White House to be signed. That's only happened one time.

In the past few months, Congress has passed now 13 Congressional Review Acts. Thirteen different reviews of different regulations that were put down by the previous administration in their final months, some of them in their final days of the administration, an administration that lasted eight full years. These were the things they crammed into the very end, what are called midnight regulations. Those regulations cost billions of dollars. And some with very little review. Thirteen different times this congress has pulled those out. It is literally billions of dollars in regulations that were laid on the economy and millions of hours of work on people filling out compliance forms and being able to submit things into Washington, D.C. that most likely no one will ever read. Those 13 bills that have now been signed into law have helped free up our economy and has started a process that is very simple. What do we do to make sure we have good regulations as a nation that they stay consistent and have the maximum number of people involved?

The administration has also laid something out that many have called a radical idea, that is for every one regulation that goes in, that that agency would pull two out. To go back and review old regulations and say are there other regulations that need to come out. For those that have called this a radical idea, I've had to smile and I've had to say you realize the United Kingdom has done that for years. Canada has done that for years. Australia has done that for years. This is not a radical, crazy idea.

Excerpts on Budget Reform:

We've made progress in regulations with a ways to go. Where we've not made progress in the past 100 days is how we do budgeting. There's a group of us that have talked for several years now. And have said we've got to change the way we do budgeting. Year after year the American people have said, are we going to have another continuing resolution? Are we going to have another omnibus bill? They ask are we going to be late on budgeting and year after year Congress has said yes, we are. Folks occasionally catch me and say it's different. I smile and say no, it's not different. In 1974 we created a more transparent process. What they actually created was a process that is so difficult that it's only worked four times since 1974… four times. So if it feels like every year you're saying how come the budget process didn't work again, it's because every year but four since 1974, you should say the budget process didn't work again. At some point we have to say the budget process is not in the constitution.

Let's change the way we’re doing the process. They were well-meaning in 1974 when they made the process. It just didn't work. So let's fix it instead of saying once again it didn't work. We will never get a better product on our budget until we fix the process of our budget. We will never be able to solve the budget debt and deficit issues we have with this continuing resolution autopilot system and with an omnibus system that seems to just perpetuate the same issues over and over again.

We've made specific proposals. Doing the budget every two years, getting more time to get more predictability, more time to walk through the research of it, eliminating budget gimmicks and there are a mess of budget gimmicks out there. Getting a better long-term view. The budget has a ten-year window now where we have to budget over the ten years. So what happens? Congress creates a budget that blows up in the 11th year.

There's a lot of simple commonsense things that are out there that we can do but we as a body have to agree that we're going to actually tackle the way we do budgeting. That’s going to involve some focus and some time commitment and a risk to say how it was done in the 70's is not the way we should do it now. It didn't work. Let's change the system and so we can actually get us back on track and bring some predictability again to what we're doing. Mr. President, with that I would yield back.

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