Congress has created a monster that is growing more dangerous to the U.S. economy, the Constitution, and the liberties of the American people with every passing day. Now, some lawmakers want to start reining in the regulatory monster with the REINS Act, if only slightly, by taking back some authorities over lawmaking that they were never authorized to give away to executive branch bureaucracies in the first place. But Obama, who last year threatened to rule America by decree with his “pen and phone” if Congress would not submit to his demands, wants none of it, and the White House has threatened a veto.
The legislation, H.R. 427, formally known as the “Regulations From the Executive in Need of Scrutiny” (REINS) Act of 2015, was overwhelmingly approved in a 243 to 165 vote late last month in the House of Representatives. All Republicans and a handful of Democrats supported the measure. The Senate version, S. 226, introduced by Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.), has not yet been voted on. If it becomes law, the REINS Act would mandate that any “major” executive branch rule, regulation, or decree — defined as having an annual economic impact of $100 million or more — be approved by Congress before going into effect.
In essence, lawmakers, responding to outraged constituents and out-of-control bureaucracies, are hoping to slow down the Obama regulatory juggernaut that is running roughshod over the American people. Restoring accountability is also key, supporters said. “If the Obama administration wants to impose regulations that effectively operate as laws on U.S. citizens, it is important that those citizens are made aware of how the laws come to be,” Senator Paul said in a statement when introducing the legislation. “Cutting red tape and opening the regulatory process to scrutiny is an important first step in holding government accountable.”
For anyone who doubts that the sprawling regulatory regime is totally out of control, a brief review of the Federal Register, where federal regulations are published, should make that clear. Consider the growing avalanche of regulations just from the Obama administration: 75,000 pages of bureaucratic rules and regulations imposed in 2014 alone. According to a study released last year commissioned by National Association of Manufacturers, federal regulations alone now cost the U.S. economy — businesses, workers, taxpayers, investors, and consumers — more than $2 trillion, with a T, every year. That translates to about $15,000 annually per American household.
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