Summary

To impose certain limitations on consent decrees and settlement agreements by agencies that require the agencies to take regulatory action in accordance with the terms thereof, and for... Read More

Status

This bill was introduced on Mar 27, 2012, in a previous session of Congress, but was not passed.

Bill Text

A BILL

To impose certain limitations on consent decrees and settlement agreements by agencies that require the agencies to take regulatory action in accordance with the terms thereof, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the ``Sunshine for Regulatory Decrees and Settlements Act of 2012''.

SEC. 2. CONSENT DECREE AND SETTLEMENT REFORM.

(a) Application.--The provisions of this section apply in the case of-- (1) a consent decree or settlement agreement in an action to compel agency action alleged to be unlawfully withheld or unreasonably delayed that pertains to a regulatory action that affects the rights of private parties other than the plaintiff or the rights of State or local governments-- (A) brought under chapter 7 of title 5, United States Code; or (B) brought under any other statute authorizing such an action; and (2) any other consent decree or settlement agreement that requires agency action that pertains to a regulatory action that affects the rights of private parties other than the plaintiff or the rights of State or local governments. (b) In General.--In the case of an action to be resolved by a consent decree or a settlement agreement described in paragraph (1), the following shall apply: (1) The complaint in the action, the consent decree or settlement agreement, and any award of attorneys' fees or costs shall be published, including electronically, in a readily...

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Organizations Supporting

Dear Representative: The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), the largest industrial trade association and the voice for 12 million men and women who make things in America, urges you to support a series of regulatory reform measures that will improve the regulatory process and provide needed transparency to the development of rules that directly impact the competitiveness of U.S. businesses. The burden of regulation falls disproportionately on manufacturers, particularly on small manufacturers because compliance costs typically are not affected by economies of scale. The problem of excessive regulation weighs heavily on the minds of manufacturers. In a recent NAM/IndustryWeek Survey of Manufacturers, an unfavorable business climate caused by regulations and taxes was cited by 64 percent of the respondents as the top challenge facing businesses. To alleviate some of these unnecessary burdens, manufacturers support the Sunshine for Regulatory Decrees and Settlements Act of 2012 (H.R. 3862) introduced by Rep. Ben Quayle (R-AZ). H.R. 3862 would require agencies to publish a proposed consent decree or regulatory settlement, take public comments prior to entry of consent decrees with the court and disclose rewards of attorneys’ fees to plaintiffs. By engaging in regulation by litigation, agencies can establish major federal policy without direction from Congress and circumvent established rulemaking procedures that contradict the regulatory principles confirmed by President Obama through Executive Order 13563. H.R. 3862 would provide necessary transparency to the rulemaking process and enhance public participation by affected parties. The NAM also supports the Responsibly and Professionally Invigorating Development (RAPID) Act of 2012 (H.R. 4377) introduced by Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL). The RAPID Act would greatly improve the environmental permitting process for major infrastructure projects through common-sense changes like concurrent (rather than consecutive) environmental reviews, increased cooperation among federal agencies and reasonable deadlines for parties to file comments and legal challenges. Most of these provisions were approved with near-unanimous bipartisan support as part of SAFETEA-LU (P.L. 109-59). Our current permitting system imposes significant burdens and is a product of faulty design and duplicative processes. Government-imposed inefficiencies are restricting our ability to modernize our infrastructure, expand the economy and create jobs. The RAPID Act would help to improve that broken system. The Midnight Rule Relief Act of 2012 (H.R. 4607) introduced by Rep. Reid Ribble (R-WI) would prohibit, subject to certain emergency exemptions, economically significant regulations issued during a president’s last days in office. There is a tendency in administrations to hastily complete work on items that might be contrary to the policy preferences of the next administration. In their haste, regulators fail to account for relevant stakeholder input or conduct poor impact analysis. Manufacturing investment and job creation are put on surer footings when regulations are thoughtfully analyzed and controversial rules are not issued by surprise. Manufacturers support H.R. 4607. In addition, the NAM supports the Unfunded Mandates Information and Transparency Act of 2012 (H.R. 373) introduced by Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC). H.R. 373 would enhance the ability of Congress, agencies and the public to determine the burden imposed by unfunded mandates. Current law has been ineffective, and agencies are able to avoid procedural requirements that Congress has imposed. Enhanced oversight and agency analysis will improve the quality of regulations and reduce the burden on the public. Finally, manufacturers support H.R. 1840 introduced by Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX). H.R. 1840 would improve regulatory impact analysis within the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) by stipulating the agency evaluate the costs and benefits of proposed regulations and adopt a regulation only when its benefits justify the costs. As the agency has implemented Dodd-Frank requirements, its proposed rules have contained minimal cost-benefit analysis and often failed to quantify potential costs. Manufacturers are greatly impacted by CFTC actions, and H.R. 1840 would help minimize the adverse effects of the agency’s rules on our global competitiveness. Regulations impose significant burdens on U.S. manufacturers with real compliance costs that affect their ability to grow their businesses and create jobs. Structural reforms of our regulatory system are necessary to make us a more competitive nation. We urge your support for these reforms.

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Bill Summary

To impose certain limitations on consent decrees and settlement agreements by agencies that require the agencies to take regulatory action in accordance with the terms thereof, and for other purposes.

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