WASHINGTON—Today on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol complex, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and other House Republican leaders unveiled a #BetterWay to grow our economy by tackling excessive regulations, developing American energy, and promoting financial independence for hardworking Americans. Below are Speaker Ryan’s opening remarks as prepared for delivery:
“We decided to hold this event here, in between the administrative state—in this case, the Labor Department—and Congress, the legislative branch, because we wanted to highlight the contrast between the two: In Congress, things are, for the most part, done out in the open. There are definitely more backroom shenanigans than we’d like—yes. But hearings are open to the public. C-SPAN records every debate. You can read any bill online. And most importantly, if you don’t like what’s going on, you can change it: You can call your representatives. Or you can vote them out.
“Transparency, accountability—that’s how we should write all our laws, including our regulations. Contrast that with the building behind us. Right now, most of us have no idea what’s going on behind those walls. The only cameras in there are for security. Maybe you can get a meeting with the deputy assistant secretary for annoying phone calls—if you’re lucky. But even if you’re unhappy with their performance, they’re not going anywhere. And, technically, there are good practices that the bureaucracy must follow. But technically, it doesn’t always follow them. And the American people are paying the price: We as a country spend up to $2 trillion every year just to comply with Washington’s mandates.
“The truth is, we need rules—clear, firm rules that all of us can live by. The question is, what’s the best way to write them? To keep our air and water clean, to protect consumers from scams and rip-offs—but also to create jobs and expand opportunity. It does not have to be an either-or. We can have both.
“That’s why we wrote this plan. In here, we are calling for Washington to change the very way it writes the rules—to make it more accountable to the American people. We’re saying, tell us the costs of your proposed regulations. Make them public. Tell us what they will do to low-income families. Base your decisions on sound science—not science fiction—with reproducible results and concrete data. And if your proposal is really so important, then let the people’s elected representatives decide. No major regulation should become law unless Congress takes a vote. In fact, we should consider setting a cap on the amount of regulatory costs that Washington can impose every year.
“Because the burden should not be on the people to justify themselves to Washington. The burden should be on Washington to justify itself to the people.
“I’m going to let our chairmen talk more about specific topics like energy and banking. But that’s the big idea: If we want clear, fair rules in this country, then we need to empower the rulemakers—the American people. This is the third in our six-part agenda, A Better Way. If you want to learn more, please go to our website: better.gop. Thank you.”