Working to Improve Federal Rules for Farmers and Small Businesses

The federal government plays a key role in supporting families and businesses across the country and keeping them safe

Federal regulations help keep lead out of our drinking water, make sure seat belts protect our families, prevent our children’s toys from causing choking hazards, and prevent Americans from consuming unsafe food or drugs. No one wants to go back to an era where there aren’t safety standards.

But one of the biggest concerns I hear from North Dakota business owners and workers is about regulations hurting their abilities to do their jobs. The federal government is very big, and there are good programs that can get bogged down in unnecessary red tape. Just because some regulations unfairly burden small business owners or farmers, doesn’t mean we just have to live with the imperfect system that produces them. We can make government work better.

That’s why in April, I introduced a bipartisan, commonsense regulatory reform bill with Republican U.S. Senator Rob Portman from Ohio that would help make federal regulations smarter, and more efficient — which passed in the U.S. Senate committee today.

In a bipartisan, moderate, commonsense way, the Senate Regulatory Accountability Act would:

  • create smarter more effective federal regulations and executive orders,
  • provide a check and balance on the executive branch so it can’t get rid of regulations on a whim,
  • provide additional protections for existing regulations,
  • create certainty for businesses and workers,
  • require federal agencies to better consider the concerns of people and businesses on the ground that regulations would directly impact, and
  • support job creation as the impact on jobs would be a key factor federal agencies would have to consider when crafting and reviewing regulations,
  • provide accountability and transparency as federal agencies would be required to show how they come to conclusions on regulations and provide alternatives, and
  • require effective cost-benefit analysis by making sure that as regulations are determined, cost is an important factor, but not the only factor. In addition to cost, other factors would be considered including the impact on jobs, the regulatory objectives, and the risks of not taking action.

Our bill is a new, bipartisan regulatory reform bill that is different from the bill by the same name in the U.S. House of Representatives. Below are the biggest differences between our bill and the one in the House.

We need commonsense reforms across almost every federal agency. And my hope is that this bipartisan bill with Senator Portman will start a bipartisan, moderate dialogue with other members. We are open to listening to other folks’ ideas on how we can cut red tape and reduce unnecessary regulatory burdens.