House GOP announces task force to reform federal rules

By Hannah Hess | 02/05/2016 07:15 AM EST

As House Republican leaders shape their election-year agenda, nine standing committee chairmen will play a key role in developing the GOP’s policy agenda on regulatory reform.

Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) yesterday announced membership of six task forces, including a panel on "reducing regulatory burdens" that will map out a legislative strategy for 2016.

In the announcement, the speaker’s office said that the goal of the task force is to "make it easier to invest, produce, and build things in America with a regulatory system that reduces bureaucracy and eases the burden on small businesses and job creators, while still protecting the environment, public safety, and consumer interests."


Members who hold the gavel on key panels that oversee the departments of Energy and the Interior and the U.S. EPA will sit on the task force. Those include Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.), Natural Resources Chairman Rob Bishop (R-Utah) and Science, Space and Technology Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas), who has already set his sights on EPA.

"Everyone agrees that we need to protect the environment, but we must do so in a way that is open and honest. Unfortunately, EPA and other federal agencies bend the law and stretch the science to justify their own objectives," Smith said.

"Despite heavy and growing public opposition to these proposals, the Obama administration is actively going around Congress to commit the U.S. to costly new regulations that will do nothing to improve the environment but will negatively impact economic growth. I look forward to working with my Republican colleagues to come up with solutions to reduce regulatory burdens on hardworking American families," he said.

In addition to regulations, Republicans will focus on national security, tax reform, health care, poverty and restoring constitutional authority.

Republicans rolled out these themes last month in Baltimore, during their retreat. At the time, Bishop expressed interest in finding ways to streamline the process for challenging federal agency decisions both in courts and at the agency level (Greenwire, Jan. 15).

Members of the regulatory reform task force include:

  • Agriculture Chairman Mike Conaway (R-Texas)
  • Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas)
  • Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.)
  • Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah)
  • Small Business Chairman Steve Chabot (R-Ohio)
  • Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.)