Opinion Columns & Blogs

Deregulatory measures coming out of this Congress should give families relief

Rep. Roger Marshall

On my journey to Congress, Kansans hammered home the crippling effects that government overregulation was having on their businesses. From dairies to banks to hospitals, business owners large and small told me the same thing: every time they tried to expand their businesses, new regulations would come and prevent that growth.

The Obama Administration issued thousands of unnecessary regulations. In Obama’s final months in office, he took egregious regulatory actions that contributed to more than $40 billion in compliance and implementation costs.

In response to this last-minute abuse of power by the Obama Administration, this Congress utilized a measure called the Congressional Review Act (CRA). The CRA was a law passed in 1996 that gave Congress an expedited ability to review and overrule new regulations coming out of federal agencies, preventing them from taking effect. Under this law, Congress has 60 legislative working days from when a regulation is issued to pass a joint resolution of disapproval, which must then be signed by the president. Once a regulation has been repealed through a CRA, an agency cannot reissue a substantially similar rule in the future unless specifically authorized by Congress.

President Trump seconded our efforts and has signed the repeal of 16 Obama-era regulations through the Congressional Review Act, and signed Executive Order 13771, which directed agencies to eliminate two regulations for each new one issued. Since Trump’s executive order was issued, 176 deregulatory actions have been taken across various agencies, totaling $23 billion in savings.

Congress has also taken bipartisan steps to reduce regulations by passing S. 2155, the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act. This legislation withdrew some of the most burdensome Dodd-Frank regulations on small financial institutions, like the community banks we find across Kansas. Small banks and credit unions have expressed the impacts this bill has had on their businesses, including increasing access to capital in rural communities, helping farmers and small businesses obtain loans, and making it easier for these institutions to lend to families wanting to buy their first home.

When considering policies coming out of Washington, D.C., we too often think about the abstract and ignore the real-world impact of regulations. But the deregulatory measures coming out of this Congress and administration should give families relief, especially when it comes to health care.

Obamacare reduced choices for families and drove up the cost of health care, rather than achieving its intended goal of expanding access to quality care. In too many cases, regulations from the ACA have led to drug shortages, hospital closures and massive premium bills to consumers. While Congress failed in a complete repeal and replace effort, we were able to remove the unconstitutional individual mandate, one of the costliest regulations facing individuals. The administration has also used the flexibility in the law to reduce drug prices, increase approvals of generic drugs, allow associations to form health plans and for consumers to have access to short-term plans when they make sense.

Businesses are growing again. Lending institutions say that regulatory relief is allowing them to once again focus on their customers, and doctors and hospitals tell me they can start turning attention back to patients. Farmers and ranchers say that they no longer fear heavy-handed regulations coming out of Washington, D.C. This is great news, and while we still have a lot of work to do, it is still very important to celebrate our successes and acknowledge that the economy is booming in large part to getting big brother off our backs!

Dr. Roger Marshall represents Kansas’ 1st District in the U.S. House of Representatives.