A battle is brewing in the Senate over a measure that would force independent agencies to more fully consider the costs of new regulations, a plan that critics say is designed to derail key federal initiatives.
The drama unfolding in the Senate mirrors a similar one taking place in the courts, where regulators face numerous lawsuits alleging that they failed to properly consider the economic impact of rules tied to the landmark Dodd-Frank financial overhaul measure, which was put in place after the 2008 financial crisis.
Opponents of the Senate measure say the legislation will paralyze the agencies and make them more vulnerable to legal challenges. But supporters say it will have the opposite effect, forcing regulators to craft airtight justifications for their actions.
Under the legislation, the president can issue an executive order that would force independent agencies to do additional cost-benefit analyses before finalizing “significant” rules — basically, those with more than a $100 million annual effect on the economy.