Congress would have to approve the implementation of any major new regulations coming from the executive branch, according to new legislation introduced by Indiana Rep. Todd Young.
A “major regulation” is one that is expected to impose an economic cost on the economy of $100 million or more. Young says it’s time for the legislative branch, the one tasked with control of the federal purse strings, to have greater oversight of major moves by the executive branch. And that what the Regulations from the Executive In Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act is designed to do.
“What the REINS Act is designed to do is give Congress ultimate authority, the ultimate say-so as to whether these regulations become the law of the land after the administrative agencies have worked their will,” stated Young, who says crippling regulations have already been implemented and many more are about to be imposed now that the elections are over.
“These regulations will rise to our attention from time to time, from boiler regulations on industrial boilers to regulations dealing with cement mixtures and its contents,” said Young, who asserts that major regulations have greatly hampered the manufacturing, financial services and coal industries in his region.
So the REINS Act would give Congress the ability to approve or reject any regulation meeting that $100 million threshold.
“First and foremost, it would prevent Congress from passing really vague laws, punting on the hard issues and then leaving those hard issues up to regulatory agencies,” said Young.
The congressman says another problem is Congress passing vaguely written legislation that leaves countless regulatory decisions to executive branch officials. He says the Obama health care law is a prime example.
“It’s a massive, broad piece of legislation that will be reforming in so many ways one-fifth of our economy, but so many of the hard questions are left up to Health and Human Services and other regulatory agencies,” said Young. “So it’s not entirely clear, even though we’ve been talking at great length about the legislation, what exactly is in it, exactly what’s going to be in it until we see all the regulations.”
Young says Congress does have some ability to place checks on the executive branch regulations, but the process is much more cumbersome than it would be if his bill became law.
“We have the power of the purse, so on a case by case, regulation by regulation basis we have done our work and tried to address these things,” he said. “There are just far too many regulations out there, ten regulations a day in recent years . In order for us to keep our eye on the ball and have an opportunity to vote down those regulations that really ought not to become law in the first place. I think we need a systemic reform rather than a case by case reform.”
The REINS Act was introduced on Wednesday and already has 121 co-sponsors. Young says there will be some Democratic support for the bill but Republicans will have to do the heavy lifting.