Senator James Lankford (R-OK), Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management, today wrote to federal agency heads seeking details of their regulatory review and oversight, often called “retrospective review” or “regulatory look-backs.” These types of review identify regulations that may not achieve intended goals, have become outdated, or may have unintended consequences.
The letters were sent to the Department of Labor, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Interior, the Department of Agriculture, and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Commission.
In the letters, Senator Lankford asked agencies to respond to questions on the progress and results of their retrospective reviews, as well as how they prioritized those reviews and encouraged public participation on those efforts. He also asked agencies to explain what efforts they have taken to ensure that these retrospective review efforts align with agency priority goals and how they are incorporating plans for future evaluations into new regulations as they are developed and written.
In 2011, the President directed executive agencies to develop and submit to the Office of Management and Budget’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs preliminary plans for periodic review of existing significant regulations to determine whether any such regulations should be modified, streamlined, expanded, or repealed. In addition, the guidance directed public participation in retrospective reviews, setting priorities in implementing retrospective review plans, and reporting on the status of these efforts.
In the letters, Lankford said, “I write to ask your cooperation in assisting the Subcommittee’s understanding of the Department of Labor’s record regarding retrospective review of agency regulations. As the Government Accountability Office stated in 2014, without careful oversight, regulations may prove to be less effective than expected in achieving intended goals, become outdated, or create unnecessary burdens. In addition, regulations may change the behaviors of regulated entities and the public in ways that cannot be predicted by prospective analysis before implementation.”
Lankford has focused his brief chairmanship on exploring regulatory reform ideas and involving the American people in the regulatory process. In March, Lankford and Subcommittee Ranking Member Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) launched the bipartisan #CutRedTape Initiative, a new way for American families and businesses to communicate with the Senate about how federal regulations impact them. The Subcommittee has held two hearings on the federal regulatory process.
CLICK HERE for a copy of the letter to Labor Secretary Tom Perez. The senator requested responses by June 15, 2015.