Ryan, House GOP Cast New Light on Shadowy Regulatory Practices

(Speaker Paul Ryan and House Republican leaders unveil the latest plank of their “Better Way” agenda on Tuesday. / Photo: AP)

It was no accident that Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) chose to give his most recent address out in the open, the heat of the summer sun beating down on the crowd that had gathered in the space between the Capitol and the Department of Labor building.

“Transparency, accountability: That’s how we should write all of our laws,” Ryan said.

His meaning? No longer will rules and regulations be formulated by nameless faces in the dark, away from the sunlight of public scrutiny.

Ryan’s address on Tuesday introduced the third plank of the House Republicans’ “Better Way” initiative, which aims to revamp the whole operation of the federal government in the post-Obama age.

The Republicans plan to tackle the sheer volume of regulations that emerge from places such as the Labor Department. To emphasize his point, Ryan asked the crowd to note the differences between the Capital Building — where every debate is aired on CSPAN, where each bill is easily viewable online, and where representatives face the possibility of being voted out — versus the monolithic Department of Labor building, where career bureaucrats write rules without little or no feedback or input from either elected officials or the public at large.

“Right now, most of us have no idea what’s going on behind those walls,” Ryan said, “and the American people are paying the price. We as a country spend up to $2 trillion each and every year just to comply with Washington’s mandates.”

“Transparency, accountability: That’s how we should write all of our laws”

Of those mandates, the most notorious is the regulation bundle known as Dodd-Frank, which added thousands of pages of additional rules and ushered in the greatest era of inequality in our nation’s history, with the five biggest banks now controlling more than 44 percent of all U.S. banking assets.

But while Ryan and other GOP leaders aim to challenge those regulations, it does not mean the “Better Way” initiative is aimed solely at eliminating regulation altogether.

“Truth is, we need rules,” Ryan said. “We need rules that are clear, firm rules we can live by.”

“The question is,” he added, “what is the best way to write the rules that we live by to keep our air and our water clean, to protect consumers from scams and rip-offs, but also to create jobs and expand opportunity? It does not have to be either-or. We can have and do both.”

The goal of the new push, simply put, Ryan said, is to ensure that no new major regulations will become law unless Congress takes a vote. Going even further, Ryan called for the consideration of a cap on the amount of regulatory costs that Washington can impose every year.

“Because the burden should not be on the people to justify themselves to Washington,” Ryan concluded. “The burden should be on Washington to justify itself to the people.”

Head over to A Better Way to learn more about the GOP’s plan for a confident America.

Evan Smith is a Staff Writer for Opportunity Lives. You can follow him on Twitter @Evansmithreport.