The new Congress and administration seem to understand—as Oscar Wilde once quipped—the price of everything and the value of nothing.
The House of Representatives is quickly advancing bills that would cripple federal agencies' abilities to issue and implement regulations. The 2017 version of the Regulatory Accountability Act, or RAA, for example, now under consideration in the Senate, combines the provisions of six separate bills aimed at gutting government. The bill would add more than 80 steps to rulemaking, including gratuitous analyses, and impose a six-month delay on the implementation of all new rules. It would also require agencies to adopt the rules that are the least costly to big business. The latter provision trumps both common sense and legislation that prioritizes public welfare—such as the Clean Air Act, Mine Safety and Health Act, and Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act.