Monday, January 19, 2015

Just in

House passes bill requiring agencies to be more open, transparent 

 Washington—The House passed the Farm Bureau-supported Regulatory Accountability Act (H.R. 185), which would give all stakeholders a greater voice in a federal regulatory process that is too often one-sided and, frankly, unfair, according to American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman.

The legislation provides a much-needed update to the nearly seven-decades-old Administrative Procedures Act, which must be amended to “ensure that the public and the regulated community, in particular, are afforded a transparent, fair and open regulatory process,” Stallman said in a statement regarding the bill’s introduction.

This bill would require agencies to be more open and transparent on data justifying a rule. The most costly rules would be subject to on-the-record hearings. Agencies would be required to consider such rules’ impact on jobs and the economy. Moreover, agencies’ ability to use guidance and interim final rules would be constrained.

“Everything from the environment to trade, product safety and health, the fertility of farmland, even the security of our retirements, suffer when rule makers fail to take into account the harm they may cause,” Stallman said.

Sponsored by Reps. Robert Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), the Regulatory Accountability Act was among the first pieces of legislation offered in the new Congress, which returned on Jan. 6

Stallman noted the APA has traditionally received bipartisan support. AFBF will work actively for swift approval by Congress, he said.

“We need something better than attack, counterattack and litigation. We strongly urge all members of Congress to support this bill.”

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