Gardner-Lee Amendment Requires Regulatory Rollback Alongside Debt Increase

Washington, DC – Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) announced today that they are introducing, as an amendment to the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, the Reducing Excessive Government (REG) Act, which would require that any increase in the debt limit approved by Congress and the President be accompanied by a dollar-for-dollar decrease in regulatory burden for every new dollar of debt. 

“Excessive regulation is a heavy weight on our economy, slowing down growth, decreasing productivity, and costing jobs,” Gardner said. “By rolling back burdensome regulations that restrict growth and strangle the American economy, the REG Act would provide much-needed relief – paving the way for American businesses to grow, innovate, and create jobs.”

“Since joining the Senate I have consistently opposed raising the debt limit unless it included structural spending reforms,” Lee said. "While this proposal wouldn’t cut government spending, it would save the American people trillions in regulatory compliance. Furthermore, this amendment would not preclude us from seeking other structural reforms the next time the debt limit needs to be raised. This regulatory repeal process would be just another tool for protecting the freedoms of the American people and future generations of Americans.”

In the event of a temporary suspension of the debt limit, the REG Act would require the Secretary of the Treasury to submit an estimate to Congress for the amount of new debt which would be incurred during that suspension. If the debt limit were to be raised by a set amount rather than suspended, the dollar-for-dollar reductions in the REG Act would apply to that set amount.

Federal agencies would provide Congress with a report, certified by the Government Accountability Office, of regulations with a cost to the United States’ economy of over $100 million. Congress would be required to vote on the removal of an amount of regulatory burden equal to the amount of new debt. The President would then sign that removal legislation into law.

If Congress fails to pass the removal of regulatory burden or the President fails to sign it, the debt limit would snap back to current levels plus any debt acquired since passage of legislation to increase or suspend the debt limit.