Lessons in Regulatory Oversight

Editor’s Note: See also An Alternative To The Regulatory Accountability Act?

From: National Affairs

C. Jarrett Dieterle


Ultimately, instead of viewing legislative review as a silver bullet for deregulation, it is best to regard it as a measured effort to inject more democratic accountability into the rulemaking process. To be sure, this is unlikely to assuage the concerns of some critics; again, many commentators explicitly extol the virtues of keeping the rulemaking process less democratic and more technocratic. But in an era when much of the rulemaking process is coordinated by unelected, bureaucrats, proponents of legislative review would be well-served by arguing that providing legislators with a systematic method to review, influence, and even vote on proposed rules offers a welcome boost of accountability.


Whether any of these legislative-review systems are feasible or desirable at the federal level is open to debate, but it is clear that few policymakers are truly considering the various state models. The current REINS-or-bust status quo has failed to result in any progress toward more legislative oversight of the regulatory state. Meanwhile, states across the country are employing innovative and interesting models to inject much-needed democratic accountability into the rulemaking process.

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