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house Bill H.R. 26

Should Congress Have More Power to Approve (or Reject) Major Regulations?

Argument in favor

Federal agencies have issued costly regulations without oversight from Congress or much engagement from the general public. This would allow both to reassert their voice in the regulatory process.

Jim's Opinion
···
01/04/2017
When a Government Agency issues a rule or regulation it effectively has the power of a LAW. According to the Constitution Congress is the only ones that has the power to make laws. Congress has given that power up years ago by letting the various Government Agencies do whatever they want without any oversite. The results is that these agencies, run by unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats, particularly the EPA, BLM, HHS as well as the Departments of Education, Energy and Housing and Urban Development have run wild pursuing and implementing all manner of their own agendas without any say by Congress or regards to what the American people want. Congress must stop this and start doing what they were sent to Washington to do and that is make laws. Those that maintain that Congress doesn't have the know how to effectively write laws that would be as good as the regulations issued by the bureaucrats may be right but the must be able, and want to, review them and say whether they will go into effect or not. Otherwise we effectively have a anarchy like the EU.
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Edward's Opinion
···
01/05/2017
This would be a good first step toward returning a voice to the people. Creating law under the guise of regulations is a clear end run around Congress and the Constitution. This would also be a nice shot across the bow of the Executive branch and its' overreach.
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Loraki's Opinion
···
03/25/2017
There are too many regulations, which have the force of law, being written by UNELECTED BUREAUCRATS! The power to pass laws rightfully belongs to our ELECTED SENATORS AND REPRESENTATIVES, Congress, IOW. There's nothing stopping Congress from getting advice from the bureaucrats, if you're so concerned about their lack of expertise in certain areas.
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Argument opposed

The regulations that would have to be approved or rejected by Congress under this bill would be the most significant impact on the environment, the economy, and public health.

Gail's Opinion
···
01/04/2017
Congress does not have the expertise to meaningfully examine many of the highly technical aspects of federal regulations, expertise that is necessary to appropriately review regulations in the short time period allowed under proposed REINS legislation. This statutory proposal is effectively a veto, regardless of the amount of time, reasoning, and analysis undertaken by the agency, and regardless of public input received, and the "veto" takes effect after an unreasonbly short time period. Finally, the proposed REINS Act upends many years of balanced and shared power among the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial branches of government...instead vesting power in the highly politicized environment of Congress where special interests often hold sway through donations and lobbying efforts... power that is unavailable to the PEOPLE of the U.S.
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Alis's Opinion
···
01/04/2017
In the years since 9/11, I have grown to distrust the House of Representatives & come to think if it as the major stumbling block to the promise of American democracy. The idea of giving the elected bozos even a nano-particle more power is abhorrent! Was it only yesterday they attempted to destroy the Office of Ethical Oversight? I rest my case!!! They cannot be trusted to do anything that benefits anyone but themselves & their wealthy cronies! *** PLUS: They are so clueless that they thought their personal popularity would override the general mood of hatred of Congress & support for the soon-to-be president's agenda of stopping the total obnoxiousness of Congress. In summation: they are too full of hubris to be given additional power! **And now Rep Chaffetz is off & running after the poor ethics guy when had the gall to question Trump's unethical behavior. Can the House of Representatives become more corrupt? An impediment to democracy as I've suspected.
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Isaiahb's Opinion
···
01/03/2017
This is a blatant attempt to cripple regulator Authority of the agencies in question.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
      Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship
  • The house Passed January 6th, 2017
    Roll Call Vote 237 Yea / 187 Nay
      house Committees
      Committee on the Budget
      Committee on Rules
      Committee on the Judiciary
      Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law
    IntroducedJanuary 3rd, 2017

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What is House Bill H.R. 26?

This bill would require Congress to approve all new major regulations by enacting a joint resolution of approval within 70 legislative or session days after the federal agency proposing the rule submits its final report to Congress. If a Congressional resolution of approval is not enacted within that period, the major rule would be considered ‘not approved’ and would not take effect. 

What's a major rule? Current law defines it as anything that has resulted in, or is likely to result in: 
  • "An annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more; 
  • A major increase in costs or prices for consumers, individual industries, federal, state, or local government agencies, or geographic regions; or 
  • Significant adverse effects on competition, employment, investment, productivity, or innovation, or on the ability of United States-based enterprises to compete with foreign-based enterprises in domestic and export markets."

A major rule could take effect for one 90-calendar day period without the approval of Congress if the President determines it is necessary:

  • Because of an imminent threat to public health or safety or another type of emergency,
  • For the enforcement of criminal law, 
  • For national security, 
  • Or to implement an international trade agreement.

Federal agencies would be kept from allowing any major rule to take effect without congressional review. Courts would also have the authority to review whether an agency has finished all the necessary requirements under this Act before a major rule can take effect.

Impact

People and businesses that would be affected by the implementation of a major rule; agencies proposing a major rule; and Congress.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 26

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-DepthAccording to the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Doug Collins (R-IN), the agencies of the executive branch implemented 76 major rules in the last year which had a total economic impact in the billions of dollars. Collins believes that to be excessive, saying:

"Our federal agencies are out of control, and Congress is partly to blame for that. We've ceded our legislative responsibility to agencies that were never intended to make laws, and the result has been redundant, counterproductive rules that have massive impacts on our economy. I'm introducing the REINS Act to bring accountability to these agencies through Congressional and presidential oversight."

The American Action Forum researched the impact this bill's predecessor in the last Congress could have, and found that over $27 billion in regulatory costs and 11.5 million hours of paperwork could be saved each year.

The Coalition for Sensible Safeguards opposed this bill during the 114th Congress, calling it a: 

“back-door way to gut enforcement of existing legislation and future safeguards that big-money interests do not want.”

In its analysis of the bill's impact, the Cato Institute concluded

“Nothing in the REINS Act would hinder a sympathetic Congress from approving new regulations. In all likelihood, however, the REINS Act’s congressional approval process would prevent the implementation of particularly unpopular or controversial regulatory initiatives.”

The House approved the REINS Act in August 2013 on a 232-183 vote, but it failed to receive a vote in the Senate during the 113th Congress. It fared little better in the 114th Congress, passing the House on a 243-165 vote before stalling in the Senate once again.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: Flickr user Jim Larrison)

AKA

Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act of 2017

Official Title

To amend chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, to provide that major rules of the executive branch shall have no force or effect unless a joint resolution of approval is enacted into law.

    When a Government Agency issues a rule or regulation it effectively has the power of a LAW. According to the Constitution Congress is the only ones that has the power to make laws. Congress has given that power up years ago by letting the various Government Agencies do whatever they want without any oversite. The results is that these agencies, run by unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats, particularly the EPA, BLM, HHS as well as the Departments of Education, Energy and Housing and Urban Development have run wild pursuing and implementing all manner of their own agendas without any say by Congress or regards to what the American people want. Congress must stop this and start doing what they were sent to Washington to do and that is make laws. Those that maintain that Congress doesn't have the know how to effectively write laws that would be as good as the regulations issued by the bureaucrats may be right but the must be able, and want to, review them and say whether they will go into effect or not. Otherwise we effectively have a anarchy like the EU.
    Like (69)
    Follow
    Share
    Congress does not have the expertise to meaningfully examine many of the highly technical aspects of federal regulations, expertise that is necessary to appropriately review regulations in the short time period allowed under proposed REINS legislation. This statutory proposal is effectively a veto, regardless of the amount of time, reasoning, and analysis undertaken by the agency, and regardless of public input received, and the "veto" takes effect after an unreasonbly short time period. Finally, the proposed REINS Act upends many years of balanced and shared power among the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial branches of government...instead vesting power in the highly politicized environment of Congress where special interests often hold sway through donations and lobbying efforts... power that is unavailable to the PEOPLE of the U.S.
    Like (571)
    Follow
    Share
    In the years since 9/11, I have grown to distrust the House of Representatives & come to think if it as the major stumbling block to the promise of American democracy. The idea of giving the elected bozos even a nano-particle more power is abhorrent! Was it only yesterday they attempted to destroy the Office of Ethical Oversight? I rest my case!!! They cannot be trusted to do anything that benefits anyone but themselves & their wealthy cronies! *** PLUS: They are so clueless that they thought their personal popularity would override the general mood of hatred of Congress & support for the soon-to-be president's agenda of stopping the total obnoxiousness of Congress. In summation: they are too full of hubris to be given additional power! **And now Rep Chaffetz is off & running after the poor ethics guy when had the gall to question Trump's unethical behavior. Can the House of Representatives become more corrupt? An impediment to democracy as I've suspected.
    Like (205)
    Follow
    Share
    This is a blatant attempt to cripple regulator Authority of the agencies in question.
    Like (203)
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    One of the primary purposes of having executive federal agencies is to de-politicize important, data-driven regulatory decisions that are relevant to and within the bounds of existing law. Voting to require congressional approval for such changes not only alters the chemistry of our checks and balances by weakening the executive branch, but also makes it likely that needed regulations will be whimsically neglected on partisan grounds as Congress attends to other business. I oppose this measure.
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    Sounds to me like a huge attack on the constitutional separation of powers. Congress has plenty of powers of obstruction already. They do not need more.
    Like (86)
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    The republicans are not representing the wishes of the people of this country. This will be remembered in 2018!
    Like (68)
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    Federal agencies need a buffer from politics in order to accomplish their missions. Allowing Congress (which has the lowest trust and approval ratings of any branch of government) to interfere so directly with the work of federal agencies (currently under the executive branch of government) will negatively impact the balance of power and functionality of our democracy.
    Like (46)
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    The regulatory agencies are in place to apply expertise to the various problems and challenges. Congress gets a say in the appointment of responsible, competent regulators. From that point, their findigs should have priority.
    Like (31)
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    This act would shift the balance of power away from the Executive to the Legislative Branch. Congress should not be playing politics with every rule or regulation enacted by our Government Agencies. The passive-aggressive time expiration is a particularly spineless way of letting relevant rules simply whither on the vine. Vote No on this resolution.
    Like (30)
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    This would be a good first step toward returning a voice to the people. Creating law under the guise of regulations is a clear end run around Congress and the Constitution. This would also be a nice shot across the bow of the Executive branch and its' overreach.
    Like (26)
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    This act would essentially weaponize congressional inaction.
    Like (23)
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    There are too many regulations, which have the force of law, being written by UNELECTED BUREAUCRATS! The power to pass laws rightfully belongs to our ELECTED SENATORS AND REPRESENTATIVES, Congress, IOW. There's nothing stopping Congress from getting advice from the bureaucrats, if you're so concerned about their lack of expertise in certain areas.
    Like (17)
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    Federal agencies have the expertise needed to make critical decisions in a timely manner. Congress lacks the expertise to make these credible decisions. Federal regulations should not be a popularity contest. Leave slimy politics out of it.
    Like (15)
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    If a regulation created by unelected bureaucrats has the same authority to ruin lives and business as a Congressional law then it should require the same Congressional & Presidential approval.
    Like (12)
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    Equal power no one should have more power than another
    Like (12)
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    Our Congress doesn't have enough study time devoted to these issues to make decisions about them.
    Like (11)
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    Congressional approval of proposed new rules would be an important step toward holding both regulators and Congress accountable for the regulations imposed on the private sector. It is no panacea for the problems of excessive regulation. But, especially if combined with other steps, it would be a significant step forward.
    Like (11)
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    I am not putting the environment, the economy, or public health into the hands of Congress, if there is one group in this country who does not understand what Americans actually want and need on these high profile issues it's Congress. Too much of government policy nowadays is based on profit lines from corporate lobbyists to Washington, with all our congressional representatives lining their pockets instead of caring one bit about the rest of us and what's right for us. I don't need Congress causing the next recession, a public health epidemic or an environmental disaster so they have leverage over other lawmakers. If Congress is smart they'll start reading some of these messages and listen to what their constituents actually want.
    Like (10)
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    This is just awful. Another blatant attempt at crippling regulators. Congressional members do not have the expertise to decide these regulations and they will undoubtedly keep their donors in mind, and NOT the American people.
    Like (10)
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