Amidst all that is happening in Washington, D.C., lately, one major change is being overlooked: an effort to undo excessive bureaucratic oversight and red tape. While this story may not attract much attention, it could prove to be one of the more impactful efforts political leaders in Washington undertake this year.
Republicans and Democrats differ on many points, but neither side can deny that we have seen unprecedented levels of regulation added to the rulebooks in recent years. Of course, some of it is necessary, sensible and appropriate.
But not all of it.
Recently, the U.S. House of Representatives, including Rep. Tom Rice (R-Myrtle Beach) voted to pass the Regulatory Accountability Act (RAA) of 2017. This legislative remedy is based on common sense and a desire for limited government. RAA will help to ensure that federal regulations are narrowly focused with intent and purpose, relying upon credible research and data. Most importantly, RAA will ensure that new regulations reflect Congressional intent.
Of course, cutting red tape and reining in regulatory creep is good for many businesses, but why should the average taxpayer care? First, regulation has a cost - and that cost is ultimately passed onto consumers - you and me. But the RAA is also needed for purposes of accountability. Our democratic government relies on the basic tenet that we elect our representatives to make laws and then hold them accountable at the voting booth.
If an un-elected bureaucrat strays from Congressional intent, it can be difficult to hold him or her accountable.
What we need is a fair regulatory environment that balances costs and benefits with common sense and practical rule-making. Congress has an unprecedented opportunity to reclaim the legislative authority granted by the U.S. Constitution and reform the way federal agencies adopt and implement costly (and sometimes unnecessary) regulations.
Perhaps in 2017, regulatory reform will become something more than an election season sound bite.
The Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce enthusiastically supports RAA. So do hundreds of other pro-business organizations. We may never have an opportunity to achieve so much so quickly.
We thank Rep. Rice for his leadership and remain hopeful the U.S. Senate will quickly embrace this important legislative initiative during President Trump’s first 100 days.
The writer is president and CEO of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce.