The Corner

One More Big Thing Needed for Regulatory Reform

In response to Georgetown

I was glad to see Veronique de Rugy comment on Jeb Bush’s proposals for regulatory reform. As usual, Veronique is right on target. But I would add that what is desperately needed, but that nobody is talking about by name, is an effort to completely overhaul — repeal and replace, if you will – the Administrative Procedure Act of 1946. The new law needs to give better recourse to ordinary citizens aggrieved by administrative/bureaucratic actions; more checks on executive agency “star chamber” proceedings in which the accused seem more often to be presumed guilty until proven innocent than vice versa; greater oversight powers for Congress and greater congressional opportunity to reverse agency rulings; and, to the extent there is any overlap between the APA and civil service rules, reforms of the latter.

Civil service rules themselves, along with pubic-employee union contracts, need a major overhaul. (Donald Devine, Ronald Reagan’s wonderfully “terrible swift sword” of bureaucratic reform, should be consulted.)

And Congress ought to legislate, to whatever extent is constitutionally feasible, a serious rollback of the Supreme Court’s construct of “Chevron deference” which gives the bureaucracy too much benefit of the doubt in legal disputes.

A multi-layered fight against bureaucratic overreach id desperately needed. Good for Jeb Bush (whom I do not support for president) for opening serious discussion of the subject. Now let’s see his opening bid and raise it. Plenty more chips remain to be laid on the table.