Congress Should Pass The "Pandemic Preparedness, Response, and Recovery Act"

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Posted by Tom Hebert on Monday, September 28th, 2020, 11:15 AM PERMALINK

Senator James Lankford (R-Okla.) and Representative Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) have introduced S. 4708/H.R.8038, the “Pandemic Preparedness, Response, and Recovery Act” (PPRRA), legislation that would provide a pathway toward identifying and repealing regulations that have hindered the ability of the country to respond to the Coronavirus pandemic. 

ATR supports this legislation and urges its swift passage. A coalition of ten conservative groups and activists led by FreedomWorks released a letter in support of the PPRRA, which you can view here

This legislation would establish a temporary bipartisan Congressional review commission that would analyze regulations to determine their efficacy. The Commission’s main focus will be on regulations that could impact our nation’s COVID-19 recovery or hinder our response to future pandemics, with special emphasis on those that create unnecessary paperwork or create red tape for smaller entities. 

The Commission can determine if a regulation should be amended, streamlined, or repealed entirely. Commission recommendations would then be given expedited review by both chambers of Congress. 

Similar commissions have been effective in taming bureaucratic bloat in the past. For example, the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) commissions have reined in redundant spending by closing certain post-Cold War Department of Defense military installations.  

The PPRRA resembles the “Regulatory Improvement Act,” legislation with broad bipartisan support that has been introduced in Congress every year since 2013. The RIA would establish a similar independent commission to comb through the Code of Federal Regulations to identify duplicative, unnecessary regulations that hamper economic activity. The Commission would then present its recommendations to Congress for a simple up or down vote. 

In the early days of the pandemic, excessive regulation on all levels of government hindered our nation’s COVID-19 response. Onerous certificate-of-need regulations led to a shortage of ICU beds at the state level, and FDA regulations initially restricted states from developing COVID-19 testing. 

Instead of consolidating more power in the federal government’s hands, President Trump and his administration have made regulatory relief a central part of the Coronavirus response. State and local governments have followed suit, leading to the waiver or suspension of nearly 850 rules and regulations nationwide. 

ATR has kept a running list of this deregulation, which you can view here

As our economy recovers from the immense damage the Coronavirus pandemic has caused, it is vitally important that burdensome red tape does not stand in the way of job creation or small business growth. Additionally, needless regulation should not stand in the way of our nation’s ability to respond to future pandemics or outbreaks. 

If implemented, the PPRRA will help advance future regulatory reform by providing a pathway to repeal regulations that were never needed in the first place. Congress should pass the PPRRA and President Trump should sign it into law. 

Photo Credit: Mark Fischer

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