Vote Explanation for H.R. 5226 — Regulatory Integrity Act of 2016

This week I voted against H.R. 5226, The Regulatory Integrity Act of 2016, because it would make the federal regulatory process more costly, time-consuming, and burdensome.

H.R. 5226 would impose strict reporting and communication requirements on federal agencies as they develop new regulations. The stated purpose of the this legislation is to increase transparency in federal agency rulemaking by requiring that agencies publicize certain information about proposed rulemakings and report to Congress on all communications regarding this action. Additionally, the bill prohibits agencies from engaging in any communication that solicits outside support for proposed rules or which is deemed to be “aggrandizement.” Yet despite what might sound like admirable goals, the bulk of the requirements that H.R. 5226 places on federal agencies are duplicative and unnecessary. For example, the information that agencies would be required to publish and report to Congress is already published twice annually on and elsewhere in agency and Administration publications; and the manner in which agencies may communicate with the public and solicit support for proposed rulemakings is already governed, and restricted, by the Administrative Procedure Act and a variety of other federal laws.

To mandate additional reporting and communication requirements beyond those that already exist would be an unnecessary burden on federal agencies and would significantly increase the costs of regulation. The real purpose of the bill is not to improve the federal regulatory process, but rather to make it harder for federal agencies to conduct their ordinary work, and to further the narrative that federal regulatory activity is a costly and burdensome bureaucratic process that should be curtailed.