Reducing Regulatory Barriers: Principles to Cut Red Tape

Members of Congress: Show Your Support for Reducing Regulatory Barriers by Signing On to CEI’s Principles to Cut Red Tape

The U.S. regulatory system is plagued by problems:

Even though the economic impacts of regulation are largely unaccounted for, regulatory compliance takes hundreds of billions of dollars out of the U.S. economy annually. This hidden tax costs American households thousands of dollars. 

We have a separation of powers crisis. Unelected federal agency personnel now do the bulk of actual lawmaking. In 2017, Congress enacted 97 laws, while agencies issued 3,281 rules. That’s 34 rules issued for every law. Over the past decade, the average has been 28 rules for each law enacted.

Federal agencies also routinely circumvent the Administrative Procedure Act, the law that requires them to provide the opportunity for public comment during the regulatory process. Instead, agencies issue “regulatory dark matter” – thousands of guidance documents, memoranda, notices, and other items – that carries regulatory weight but is difficult to find, understand, and measure.

Regulatory Dark Matter is backdoor regulation that harms American consumers and job creators. It’s hard to find, difficult to understand, and impossible to measure.

Benefits of Regulatory Reform

Congress should adopt reforms to address these problems.

Reassert Constitutional Authority



Reform the Bureaucracy

Free up businesses drowning in red tape by reining in over-regulation and "regulatory dark matter."

Hold agencies accountable by requiring them to provide more transparency and data regarding regulatory activity.

Reassert Article I constitutional authority over lawmaking by improving regulatory oversight.

Members of the 115th Congress
Sign On to Show Your Support for 
These Principles

Therefore, I affirm to the American people that I support the following principles to overcome the aforementioned problems.

Congress should:

  1. Reassert its Article I constitutional authority over lawmaking by improving regulatory oversight and resisting delegation of its legislative authority to the executive branch.
  2. Hold agencies accountable for their activities and improve disclosure by requiring agencies to present complete data regarding regulation and regulatory activity – rule counts, significance, and costs – to Congress and the American public. 
  3. Survey the existing body of regulations and statutes in order to reduce red tape. 
  4. Reduce final rules and pages in the Federal Register and Code of Federal Regulations insofar as these correlate to regulatory burden.
  5. Withhold appropriations for agency initiatives that Congress has not approved, so that agencies do not regulate in areas that Congress has not clearly authorized. 
  6. Require sunset provisions in agency rules so that effective rules can be kept and ineffective rules can expire. 
  7. Rein in overregulation via “regulatory dark matter” by requiring disclosure of all guidance documents issued by federal agencies.

Canyon Brimhall, Government Affairs Manager

Members of Congress who wish to sign on to CEI's Principles to Cut Red Tape can contact Canyon Brimhall for more information.