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Rand Paul’s REINS Act Heads to Senate Floor

Rand Paul’s REINS Act Heads to Senate Floor

An attempt to stop over regulation.

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee has passed Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-KY) Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act, which means it will finally proceed to the Senate floor.

This is a major victory for us who despise too much regulation. From Reason:

Sponsored by Sen. Ran Paul (R-Kentucky), the REINS Act would require every new regulation that costs more than $100 million to be approved by Congress. As it is now, executive branch agencies can pass those rules unilaterally, and even though those major rules account for only 3 percent of annual regulations, they are the ones that cause the most headaches for individuals and businesses.

Passage of the REINS Act would also require Congress to review all existing regulations that surpass the $100 million threshold. Since there’s no clear accounting of how many such rules exist, assessing the landscape would be a necessary step before reforms could be enacted.

Paul’s office released this statement to celebrate the passage of the bill:

“For too long, an ever-growing federal bureaucracy has piled regulations and red tape on the backs of the American people without any approval by Americans’ elected representatives,” said Dr. Paul. “The REINS Act reasserts Congress’ legislative authority and would continue the historic progress we have made this year to curb the damaging effects of overreaching regulations.”

Dr. Paul’s REINS Act would rein in unelected federal bureaucrats by requiring that Congress affirmatively approve every new “major rule” proposed by the Executive Branch before it can be enforced on the American people.

A “major rule” is defined as any federal rule or regulation that may result in 1.) an annual economic impact of $100 million or more, 2.) a major increase in costs or prices for American consumers, or 3.) significant adverse effects on the economy.

Paul introduced the bill back in January and received 26 cosponsors. Sen. Todd Young (R-IN) signed on since he witnessed “how regulatory overreach can stifle our local economies and cost American jobs” since his father owns a small business. Young introduced a similar bill as a representative in the House back in 2015.

Young has also used the bill as a way to persuade Democrats that the REINS Act could also stop President Donald Trump from gaining too much power. From The Washington Examiner:

“We need to reassert our prerogative as the legislative branch,” the freshly minted senator told the Washington Examiner, “whether we happen to have a Republican or a Democrat president in the White House at any given moment in time.”

That might not be that tough of a sell when Democrats consider the possibility of President-elect Trump using an administrative army to shut out Congress. For the minority party, the idea of the president-elect governing by pen and phone can’t be comforting.


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About time. And in addition to a monetary trigger, there should be an industry or market sector trigger so that Congress can review rules that substantially impact sectors regardless of the dollar value. For example regulating internet book sales in 1995 might have had marginal dollar value, but it could easily have destroyed Amazon and Ebay.

PrincetonAl | May 19, 2017 at 1:14 pm

Good. More of this. Republicans better enact legislation like this or repeal stuff to keep the economy moving and have something to show come 2018. Nice of Rand to propose something that fits with Trump’s agenda and works for his own libertarian base. Easy win.

Rand gets it. Let’s hope it passes.

Close The Fed | May 19, 2017 at 1:18 pm

Welcomed legislation.

But WHO are these people with these word talents to name the bills?!?! I couldn’t come up with something like that if my life depended on it!!!

Close The Fed | May 19, 2017 at 1:19 pm

They should have an awards gala just for the people who name congressional bills!!

Except the dem bill namers wouldn’t be allowed to run. Theirs are always smarmy lies. “Affordable” care act, OMG.

This is a great bill, but it’s only out of committee, and not yet passed by the Senate or House nor signed by the potus. I’m cautiously optimistic.

However, this vague verbage concerns me: “Passage of the REINS Act would also require Congress to review all existing regulations that surpass the $100 million threshold.”

Review? To what end? To suggest that the Exec branch rescind regulations that offend the new requirements? What if the Exec branch counters with a contrary economic assessment and refuses? Who arbitrates? And what if ‘slow walking’ interminably delays the rescind? Who enforces?

Congress cannot micromanage the Exec branch from the Hill, dismantling agencies or reams of regulations, without incuring the Constitional pushback of separation of powers.

And DC is nothing, if not a game of power, and none will go gentle into that goodnight of giving up power.

I aplaud Sen. Paul and all sponsors of this bill, but it’s only the beginning of a long slog to starve this swamp beast in lossing a few pounds.

    amatuerwrangler in reply to locomotivebreath1901. | May 19, 2017 at 1:54 pm

    I agree that this is equivalent to a double in the first inning; there is still a lot of ball to be played before the game goes into the record books.

    The summary at the top of the post says “approved by Congress”. If this is accurate then any regulatory action that exceeds the dollar limit has to get a vote in Congress. Hopefully it will be treated as a spending issue and have to start in the House. An exception could be if the money was already included in the budget of the agency involved.

    Even if you don’t totally starve the Swamp Beast, weakening it to make it easier to kill by other means can’t hurt. The concept worked for Grant at Vicksburg, once upon a time.

    Many of Trump’s Executive Actions have language instructing the Departments to review regulations to make sure that they comply withe the authorizing legislation. So, I think the review is currently underway. And then, there is the add one, delete two regulations Executive Order.

    If I remember correctly, many of the recent bills have been so poorly written that Congress essentially gave the Executive Branch a lot of leeway. See the ACA as a good example Since reversing many of the regs were part 2 or 3 or the “repeal/replace” activity.

    How about this – since the bills generally come from committees, why can’t the committees review the regulations when they are in the commenting period and then approve the final regs to ensure that their intent was followed? If they did this, it may have stopped some of those late regs that have been reversed by the CRA bills.

UnCivilServant | May 19, 2017 at 1:53 pm

The dollar trigger is too high.

It should be “Any regulation proposed by an executive branch agency must be explicitly approved by a vote of congress to take effect. A null action by congress results in the rule not taking effect. A rule voted upon and rejected not only does not take effect, but may not be proposed again.”

No thresholds, no exceptions.

    It looks like Amateur Wrangler, you and I had the same idea. So, Congress needs to …

    1. Write better laws.
    2. Be involved in the regulation review process during the Fed Register comment period. This can be done in the committees.
    3. Approve the final regulations as compliant with intent of law.

Every year government agencies should compile a list of regulation changes that they want to make and submit them to Congress for approval.

Cunning eh….just say something is a way if stopping trump getting too much power and the dems will flock to it like fat chicks to NYC! Clever bastards!!