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Senator Lankford Marks #CutRedTape Initiative Anniversary, Highlights Subcommittee Regulatory Work

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today recognized the one-year anniversary of the #CutRedTape Initiative and highlighted the regulatory oversight work on the Subcommittee that he chairs.

“I’m extremely proud of the work we have done within the Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management Subcommittee on behalf of the nation,” said Lankford. “Regulations have a tremendous impact on the lives of all Oklahomans and the American people. Regulations affect everyone; they can have a positive impact, but they can also create tremendous burdens on individuals and businesses. Federal regulations cost our economy two-trillion dollars each year. It’s a hidden tax on everyone. In 2015 alone, the Federal Register listed more than 81,000 pages of regulation, the most in American history. We must push back on the rampant expansion of government and truly burdensome regulations. The subcommittee I chair will continue to hold the regulatory bureaucracy accountable. At the year anniversary, I encourage Americans to continue to give us input through the #CutRedTape Initiative.”

#CutRedTape Initiative:

In March 2015, Lankford and Subcommittee Ranking Democrat Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) launched the #CutRedtape Initiative as an online tool for American families and businesses to share their stories about how federal regulations impact them on a daily basis. The agencies mentioned most often in submissions were the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Centers For Medicare/Medicaid (CMS) and Office of Personnel Management (OPM).

During the determination of their subcommittee regulatory oversight objectives, Lankford and Heitkamp realized there was no single location where Americans could provide insight about how federal regulations negatively impact them, and therefore they created this Initiative. The input received through the portal has helped Lankford and Heitkamp determine hearing topics and explore legislation. In October, Lankford and Heitkamp introduced three bills to facilitate greater transparency and accountability in the federal rulemaking process. The Smarter Regulations Through Advance Planning and Review Act (S.1817) would require agencies to plan for and conduct regular mandatory retrospective reviews on their most expensive rules; the Early Participation in Regulations Act of 2015 (S. 1820) would allow Americans to participate in the regulatory process earlier; and the Principled Rulemaking Act of 2015 (S. 1818) would ensure that agencies propose rules that address verifiable problems. All three bills have passed Committee and await action by the full Senate.

Lankford also took #CutRedTape Initiative feedback into account when he released his federal government waste report in November entitled, “Federal Fumbles: 100 ways the government dropped the ball.” The report listed $105 billion in wasteful federal spending, but also listed $800 billion in negative regulatory impact to the economy.

Notable #CutRedTape Submissions from Oklahoma:

1. A business owner from Ft. Gibson, OK wrote in regarding EPA and OSHA violations and fines. He said these agencies target small businesses and that there should be a “grace period” for business owners to fix the problem. If the owner fails to fix the problem, then a fine should be assessed. Lankford chaired a hearing in February on the government’s use of discretion in setting and enforcing regulatory fines and penalties.

2. A doctor from Edmond argued that the 80,000 new ICD-10 billing codes for Medicare beneficiaries is incredibly burdensome. He said that he cannot spend enough time with patients because he is constantly filling out paperwork and coding for CMS.

Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management:

Senator Lankford was named chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management on January 26, 2015. Oversight of the federal regulatory process and federal agency workforce falls under its jurisdiction. The subcommittee has held 18 hearings and roundtables; nine of them on regulatory issues. The subcommittee’s work has resulted in 15 bills introduced or co-introduced, on various federal government issues. In addition to the regulatory improvement bills introduced with Senator Heitkamp, the subcommittee co-introduced the Smarter Regs Act of 2015 (S. 1817), the Regulatory Predictability for Business Growth Act of 2015 (S. 1487), and the Separation of Powers Restoration Act of 2016, which would correct agency deference in the regulatory process and interpretation.