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Worse, even as the number and cost of regulations are rising, oversight and transparency are on the wane. According to “Red Tape Rising,” the White House office charged with overseeing regulatory policy has not had a director since August, referring an appointee to the Senate for confirmation only last month. Meanwhile, legal deadlines for key reports on rule-making have been ignored.

There are several common-sense steps that lawmakers can take. One is to require that Congress approve any major new regulation. For now, government agencies can act autonomously, and that’s not right. They should be accountable to the people.

Establishing a “sunset” date for federal regulations also would help. Old regulations tend to stay on the books even after they’ve outlived their usefulness.

Not all regulations are bad, but all of them cost. Let’s make sure we leave only the most necessary ones on the books — and restore that crucial “balance.”

Ed Feulner is founder of the Heritage Foundation (