As your U.S. senator, one of my top priorities is fighting burdensome federal regulations that are making life more difficult for you and your family. One of my first initiatives in 2013 was the “Rolling Back Regulations: Nebraskans Speak Out” program. I asked Nebraskans to highlight specific regulations adversely impacting their families, communities, and businesses.
That initiative was a continuation of my work on a similar front in the Nebraska Unicameral. At the state level, I focused on the relationship between executive branch regulators and members of the legislature. I partnered with State Sen. Patrick Bourne of Omaha to secure passage of LB 373 in 2005, a law requiring regulators to notify the legislature's Executive Board whether new rules are consistent with legislative intent.
For the past four years at the federal level, I have worked with Nebraskans to identify and fight federal regulatory overreach such as the “Waters of the United States” rule and on-farm fuel storage requirements, to name just a couple. Many of these rules were not based on sound science. They did not not take into account the unintended consequences and higher costs our citizens would face.
My colleagues and I have been hard at work restoring the proper balance between federal agencies and Congress, and between federal agencies and our states and individual citizens.
Passed in 1996 as a way to restore the proper oversight of executive agencies, the Congressional Review Act established a tool for Congress to review and rescind new federal regulations issued by executive agencies. These are Congressional Review Act resolutions of disapproval, or CRAs. The law gives Congress a short window of opportunity to reverse some of the previous administration’s last-second rule making.
Through 13 CRAs, we’ve started rolling-back bad policies, working to create jobs and put our country back on the road to prosperity. Collaborating with President Trump, we have saved American families approximately $67 billion and 56 million paperwork hours in unwarranted red tape.
I want to share with you some of the CRAs I have supported.
Two of them overturned the Obama administration’s Department of Education rules that placed new federal mandates on states for evaluating teachers and schools. States, not bureaucrats in Washington, need to be responsible for determining if a college program prepares teachers for the classroom. Top-down education rules have worked poorly, leaving too many students behind.
The best way to educate our children for the future is by working together at the local level to support our schools. I was pleased to vote for these measures, restoring education decisions to the people closest to our students: parents, teachers, local school boards and local communities.
As with education, Nebraskans are best equipped to manage our state’s precious natural resources. In 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued a rule that circumvented congressional direction and set a national precedent that undermined the authority of states and Congress to manage public lands. In March, I supported a CRA that overturned this rule and gave back to our state the right to manage its own land.
I also cosponsored and supported a CRA resolution of disapproval regarding the BLM’s 2.0 Planning Rule. The final rule changed how the agency goes through the planning process for land-use. It increased certain requirements for permitees without taking into account the expertise of local stakeholders. It needed to be repealed. The BLM 2.0 Planning CRA ensured that the BLM consults with stakeholders before handing down a one-size-fits-all land use plan.
I am proud of the job we’ve done to lift these regulatory burdens for the American people. I look forward to continuing to work on legislative solutions that will strengthen our economy and improve the lives of Nebraskans.