Sullivan, Daines & Nehls Reintroduce RED Tape Act

WASHINGTONU.S. Senators Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) and Steve Daines (R-Mont.), and Representative Troy E. Nehls (R-Texas) reintroduced The RED (Regulations Endanger Democracy) Tape Act this week. The legislation would help rein in the administrative state and grow our country’s economy by freezing the growing number of federal regulations promulgated each year. If the legislation is enacted, a federal agency would be required to remove a regulation from the Code of Federal Regulations for every new one promulgated. If an agency refuses to do so, the cost of living adjustment for agency personnel would be withheld until the agency abides by the law.

“Since being elected to the Senate, I’ve made cutting job-killing regulations and fighting federal overreach a top priority,” said Senator Sullivan. “Alaska is ground zero for job-killing regulations. This bill is a bold step in fixing the problem. Our legislation cuts the red tape that binds us and instead binds the regulatory system. Today, our out-of-control national debt and stagnant economy prove there has never been a more critical time to address this issue.”

“Heavy-handed regulations by unelected Washington, D.C. bureaucrats kill Montana jobs, hurt our local economy and threaten our Montana way of life,” said Senator Daines. “It’s time we rollback these damaging regulations and ensure Washington is working for Montanans, not against them.” 

“President Trump had it right when he signed the ‘2-for-1’ order to reduce regulatory requirements in 2017. It was probably the most significant administrative action in the regulatory reform works since the creation of the OIRA in the 1980s,” said Congressman Troy E. Nehls. “With the Biden Administration in control of the White House, it’s up to Congress to drain the D.C. Swamp and roll back the red tape in order to protect American businesses. I am proud to work with Senator Sullivan on this important issue, and I hope my House colleagues will bring this critical legislation to the floor.”

Senator Sullivan originally introduced the legislation in 2015 as one of his first bill introductions in Congress. Shortly after President Trump was sworn into office in 2017, and after consulting with Senator Sullivan, President Trump mandated federal agencies cut two regulations for each new regulation promulgated. The Biden administration dropped the mandate in 2021.

Many economists and experts across the country point to regulations—the size and scope of which continue to increase substantially every year—as a major factor in our sluggish economy. Regulatory compliance and economic costs are estimated to be $1.88 trillion a year. If it were a country, U.S. regulatory compliance and economic costs would be the world’s 10th largest economy, ranking behind Russia and ahead of India.

Summary of The RED (Regulations Endanger Democracy) Tape Act:

  • This straight-forward legislation would help rein in the out-of-control regulatory system in the United States. Using a simple one in, one out method, new regulations that cause a financial or administrative burden on businesses or the people of the United States would need to be offset by repealing an existing regulation.
  • Regulations include not only those issued by Executive Order from the President of the United States, but also regulations that are issued by an agency in the form of memorandums, guidance documents, bulletins, and press releases.
  • If an agency wants to issue a new regulation or amend an existing regulation that would create a financial or administrative burden, an agency must repeal one or more existing regulations. 
  • If an agency head refuses to offset a new regulation by repealing an existing regulation, cost of living adjustments will be withheld until the agency abides by the law.
  • Twice a year, each agency will be required to publish, through the Unified Agenda of Federal Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions, a list of new, incoming regulations, as well as the existing regulations that are being repealed to comply with the one in, one out law.
  • Incoming and outgoing regulations must be published at the same time and without delay.
  • This one in, one out rule would not apply if an agency is only seeking to repeal a regulation without introducing a new one.