GOP lays out regulatory reform wish list

Republicans have plenty of ideas for reforming the regulatory process.

President Trump has vowed to lighten Washington’s regulatory load. Now, GOP lawmakers want to pass legislation to ensure any changes in this administration become permanent.

Those include proposals that would require federal agencies to issue only the “least costly” regulations and a measure to eliminate outdated and duplicative rules.

House Republicans are moving forward with an aggressive package of bills on regulatory reforms.

But with only a 52-48 edge in the Senate, some of those may not make it through the upper chamber where Democrats have filibuster power.

Some upper chamber Republicans, like Sen. James Lankford (Okla.), believe a more modest set of reforms could win over eight Democrats.

Republicans, though, have ambitious hopes. Here’s a look at the GOP’s wish list on regulatory reform.

Curbing costly regs

The Regulatory Accountability Act would require federal agencies to issue the “least costly” rules to address problems.

If a cost-benefit analysis shows the regulation is too expensive, the agency would be forced to choose a “reasonable alternative.” The analysis could be challenged in court to “ensure that agencies do not rely on irrational assumptions,” according to a release from Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), who plans to introduce the bill in the upper chamber once Congress returns from the Easter recess.

Supporters of the Regulatory Accountability Act say it would keep federal agencies on a tight leash and prevent the sort of regulatory overreach that Republicans complained about during the Obama administration.

But critics say it would lead to toothless regulations.

The House version of the bill, sponsored by Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), passed in January.

But it’s unclear whether Portman will be able to attract enough support from moderate Democrats to overcome a Senate filibuster.

It’s one of the GOP’s top regulatory priorities and many believe it is more likely to win bipartisan support than other items on their wish list.

“You have the House blistering the Senate with all these bazookas, but the only one that’s serious is the Regulatory Accountability Act,” said Rena Steinzor, a law professor at the University of Maryland and member of the left-leaning Center for Progressive Reform, who opposes the measure.

Easing regs on small businesses

The GOP’s Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act would…