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Senator Lankford Chairs First Senate Hearing

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today led his first Senate hearing as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management. The hearing, entitled “Examining Federal Rulemaking Challenges and Areas of Improvement Within the Existing Regulatory Process” examined current federal regulations and the rulemaking processes.

“Today’s hearing focused on the federal government’s regulatory process; specifically, how regulatory process affects the quality, structure, efficiency, and accountability of agency rulemaking,” said Lankford. “Not all regulations are bad, but many are unnecessary, outdated and overly burdensome to companies and people. This was a good hearing to start the work of this this Subcommittee because the witnesses have clearly established that our process is in desperate need of reform.

“We are a nation of laws, not regulations. It is clear that there are also regulatory excesses and significant burdens. With over 25,000 pages of proposed rules published annually in the federal register by many of the federal government’s 430-plus agencies, federal regulations today place a $2 trillion dollar burden on the United States economy. In other words, the regulatory burden today equals 12% of the nation’s gross domestic product. At some point, individuals cannot make reasonable day to day decisions to advance their own family or business because they spend their time and treasure completing forms and federal requirements.”

Notable Witness Comments:

Drew Greenblatt, President and Owner of Marlin Steel Wire Products, LLC and Executive Board Member of the National Association of Manufacturers said, “Manufacturers believe regulation is critical to the protection of worker safety, public health and our environment… but that does not mean our regulatory system is not in need of considerable improvement and reform. New regulations are too often poorly designed and analyzed and ineffectively achieve their benefits. They are often unnecessarily complex and duplicative of other mandates. Their critical inputs—scientific and other technical data—are sometimes unreliable and fail to account for significant uncertainties. Regulations are allowed to accumulate with no real incentives to evaluate existing requirements and improve effectiveness. In addition, regulations many times are one-size-fits all without the needed sensitivity to their impact on small businesses.  We can do better.”

The Honorable  John Graham, Dean of Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs and former Director of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs said, “Organizations regulated by the federal government are sometimes subject to multiple overlapping, and duplicative regulations issued by the same federal agency, by multiple federal agencies, or by multiple federal, state and local agencies.”

“Federal agencies sometimes make quasi-regulatory determinations of large economic import but with no supporting cost-benefit analysis… Typically, these activities entail issuance of guidance documents, policy statements, waivers for state and local regulation, and signing of consent decrees that compel regulation…”

Neil Eisner, Senior Fellow of the Administrative Conference of the United States and former Assistant General Counsel for Regulation and Enforcement at the Department of Transportation said, “An agency may not adequately address public comments, it may not provide a reasonable basis for its actions, or it may take too long to make a decision, but those failures may have been directed by officials outside the agency.  It also may have been made by a political appointee in the agency who disagreed with career staff advice.”

Lankford was named the chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management by Committee Chairman Ron Johnson (R-WI) during a markup of the Committee’s rules on January 23.


A photo of Senator Lankford presiding over the hearing is attached. To view more pictures from the hearing CLICK HERE and to view the video of the full hearing CLICK HERE.