Regulations are the flesh put on the legislative skeleton. They provide the details and specifics for policies passed into law by our elected representatives.
Unlike laws which are passed by majority rule – only constrained by constitutional limits – regulations incorporate expert knowledge and balance the costs to business with the benefits to the public.
Most regulations are developed through the informal rulemaking process that seeks stakeholder input from the regulated industry and interested members of the public, including special interest groups and academics.
Each President puts his own mark on regulations promulgated during his administration by instructing his Office of Management and Budget as well as the Executive Agencies on the weight that should be given to science or evidence in finalizing new rules.
The current administration has indicated that its priority will be to repeal two rules for every new rule that is added. However, they have not clarified their criteria for determining which rules to eliminate or whether they will be only swapping rules that are related by subject matter and industry. For example, does it really make sense to wait on limiting the use of a toxic pesticide near drinking water until two rules on partnership taxation can be rolled back?
This approach to deregulation is based on flawed assumptions and thinking – namely that fewer regulations is inherently better while more regulations are worse for our country. Any lawyer or compliance professional will tell you that it isn’t the number of regulations that matter, instead it is the substance. Lengthy regulations often simplify their work by providing needed details and specifics that Congress lacked the expertise to provide. Well-developed regulations are good for our businesses and our citizens.
Businesses need predictability and a fair playing field. Our citizens deserve clean air and water, and the knowledge that the goods that they purchase meet minimal quality product standards.
I support the repeal of outdated or unwieldy regulations and I also support the addition of new evidence based rules. Those goals are both achievable.