Is it time to REIN in Obama’s ruling by fiat/edict by “rule making” through Administrative agencies?
By Phil Kerpen and Jennifer Stefano
December 7, 2011
Last week, members of the Pennsylvania congressional delegation — Congressmen Louis Barletta, Patrick Meehan and Todd Platts — voted with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to curb regulatory excesses with minor procedural fixes.
Today, this same group has a chance to confront regulatory overreach head-on by joining Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick and over 200 Republican co-sponsors in supporting the Regulation from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act.
In Article 1, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution, the Founding Fathers said “all legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States.” Simply, Congress alone has the power to pass laws. Over the last 70 years legislative power, however, has been transferred from Congress to various executive branch agencies like the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Agency.
The unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats running these agencies have enormous power to create regulations affecting Pennsylvania and the entire nation. According to the Small Business Administration, regulatory compliance costs for small businesses amounted to over $1.75 trillion in 2008. This study does not include the thousands of pages of mandates and red tape from President Obama’s health care law and the Dodd-Frank financial reforms. In fiscal year 2010 alone, executive agencies imposed 43 new economically significant rules with no oversight.
The REINS Act gives power back to Congress where the Founders intended. The REINS Act requires that all economically significant rules, those with economic effects greater than $100 million, must be proactively approved by Congress. All proposed regulations must receive approval from the House and Senate and would be subject to presidential signature or veto.
Additionally, the REINS Act provides an important check on presidential power by removing the ability to implement a political agenda through the rule-making process, as demonstrated by President Obama. After failing to pass his cap-and-trade bill through Congress, President Obama said “cap-and-trade is just one way of skinning the cat.” His EPA simply adopted the cap-and-trade targets and started regulating anyway. The Federal Communication Commission and National Labor Relations Board followed the same course over the last year, bucking Congress to fulfill the president’s political agenda.