1/21/2015

Sen. Rand Paul, Rep. Todd Young introduce bill to restore Congressional accountability for lawmaking

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Rep. Todd Young (R-IN9) reintroduced their Regulations from the Executive in Needs of Scrutiny (REINS) Act on Wednesday as S.226 and H.R. 427, respectively.  The REINS Act would require any executive branch rule or regulation with an annual economic impact of $100 million or more—designated by the White House’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) as a “major rule”—to come before Congress for an up-or-down vote before being enacted.

“Today, we are introducing legislation to increase transparency in the Federal regulatory process,” said Paul.  “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. Cutting red tape and opening the regulatory process to scrutiny is an important first step in holding government accountable."

“The REINS Act is key to reforming our nation’s regulatory system so that the American people can hold Congress accountable for the law of the land,” said Young. “While the President would prefer to act unilaterally—and he has made that abundantly clear in recent months—that’s not the way our system operates. Unfortunately, when the executive branch issues regulations with a huge economic impact or negative consequences, it’s hard for the American people to hold accountable a nameless, faceless federal bureaucracy.  Requiring an up-or-down vote by Congress on major regulations restores the notion that the legislative branch is in charge of writing laws, brings transparency to our regulatory system, and ensures our constituents know who is responsible when burdensome regulations take effect.”

In 2014, the executive branch finalized 3,541 new rules and regulations—approximately 16 times greater than the 223 new laws passed by Congress and signed by President.  Of those rules and regulations, 200 were deemed to be “major”.  Meanwhile, the annual economic impact and regulatory compliance cost is now estimated to stand at over $1.8 trillion, which translates to more than $14,000 per family.

The REINS Act has passed the House in each of the previous two Congresses on a bipartisan basis, but never received a hearing in the Senate under Democratic leadership.  More information, including full bill text, FAQ’s, and a list of co-sponsors, can be found at http://toddyoung.house.gov/reins.