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Thursday, March 4th, 2021

Senate Republicans introduce bill to modify or repeal regulations that impede pandemic response

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A bill was introduced in the U.S. Senate that seeks to repeal or modify regulations that have impeded the ability of the government to rapidly respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Pandemic Preparedness, Response, and Recovery Act establishes a commission charged with prioritizing regulation where modification or repeal could assist in recovery from COVID-19 or a future pandemic. Also, the commission would review regulations that it determines to impose disproportionately high costs or paperwork burdens on businesses.

“This pandemic has exposed areas of weakness in the federal government’s ability to respond effectively and efficiently to pandemics,” Sen. James Lankford (R-OK), one of the bill’s sponsors, said. “I have heard from Oklahomans about the areas in which we could have been better prepared and more adaptable. This bill will help Congress accurately identify and actually address our weaknesses in preparation and our over-regulation. This commonsense legislation empowers Congress to dig into the colossal Code of Federal Regulations and update it to serve the American people.”

Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Ron Johnson (R-WI) are also sponsors of the bill.

“I have long advocated reforming our regulatory system so we can appropriately account for the costs and benefits of regulations. It’s never been more apparent that we need to better understand the barriers regulations place between the American people and their access to medication and health care and provide relief where we can do so safely. The bipartisan commission this bill would establish would give us an objective starting point for improving our regulatory system so that it better serves Americans both during future crises and their daily lives,” Portman said.

Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) introduced a companion bill in the House.