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Running Out the Clock on Government Regulations

Ben Peck
The American Prospect
Today, the U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary passed, on a party-line vote, one of the most sweeping attacks in decades on government protections.
The Rules from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) bill would require that any major regulatory rule issued by a federal agency be affirmed by a majority vote in both the House and Senate. The vote would have to take place within 70 days. Proponents of the legislation claim that it would lead to improved regulations, but its real effect would be to hamstring government agencies so that laws that do not pass muster with the radical Republicans in the House—say, regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency or the Securities and Exchange Commission—would never be implemented.
Leaving aside outright opposition to specific rules, many new regulations would fail simply because of time constraints. Over the past decade, under both Republican and Democratic presidents, the federal government has never issued fewer than 50 major rules in a given year. Congress simply cannot move 50 or more additional pieces of legislation each year—it can’t even pass annual legislation to fund the government.