Friday, June 01, 2012

House Expects to Pass Regulatory Freeze Legislation before August Recess

According to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), the House will take up and is expected to pass regulatory reform legislation after the Independence Day recess. The first effort will be to pass H.R. 4078, which would impose a moratorium on any new  federal regulation, save for health and emergency, until unemployment drops below six percent nationally. The Majority Leader said that he will work with Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) and the Judiciary Committee to schedule as many of these proposals as possible throughout July.

The Regulatory Freeze for Jobs Act of 2012, HR 4078, sponsored by Rep.Tim Griffin (R-AR) would put a moratorium on new significant federal regulations until the national unemployment rate stabilizes at or below 6 percent. The President could waive the moratorium by Executive Order and issue significant regulations for certain specific reasons, such as national security. With the consent of Congress, during the moratorium period the President may take any other significant regulatory action necessary to protect the public health, safety, or welfare. A significant regulatory action taken during the moratorium would be judicially reviewable, and a small business that successfully challenges such a regulation could recover attorney's fees.

The bill would define a ``significant regulation’’ as one that costs the economy $100 million or more, creates a serious inconsistency or otherwise interferes with an action taken or planned by another agency, materially alters the budgetary impact of entitlements, grants, user fees, or loan programs, or raises novel legal or policy issues.

After conducting hearings on the bill, HR 4078 was reported out of the Judiciary Committee by a 15-13 vote. There is a Senate companion bill, S 1438, sponsored by Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI), whose only demonstrable difference is that it would set the unemployment trigger for a regulatory moratorium at 7.7 percent.