Davis Passes REINS Act to Young

Retiring Congressman Geoff Davis, R-Ky. announced Wednesday that fellow GOP Congressman Todd Young, R-In., will take over lead sponsorship of the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act.

For three years Davis has championed the legislation as a way to spur economic growth and tackle burdensome regulation. The REINS Act would require that Congress take an up-or-down vote on any major rules that would have more than $100 million annual economic impact.

The bill passed the GOP-controlled House last winter, but it went nowhere in the Democratic Senate. Davis announced last December he was not seeking re-election but that Young will take the lead on the REINS Act in the future.

“Todd Young is one of the hardest-working and most diligent new members of Congress. He has enthusiastically championed the REINS Act at home and in Washington,” Davis said in a news release. “Congress has excessively delegated its constitutional responsibility for making the law of the land to unelected bureaucrats for too long.  The REINS Act is one of the most important structural reforms to restore this accountability.  I am confident that Congressman Young will be a tireless champion for the REINS Act going forward.”

Critics of the REINS Act have blasted the legislation as unnecessary and observers note the bill would erode important federal protections for consumers and oversteps the powers of the legislative branch that already exist.

From The New Republic:

Despite Republicans assertions to the contrary, Congress already has plenty of power to monitor agency regulations. Fundamentally, as the Supreme Court held in 1986, “an agency literally has no power to act  … unless and until Congress confers power upon it.” In other words, Congress already dictates what rules agencies can enact in the first place.

Then, there’s the 1996 Congressional Review Act (originally a part of the GOP’s Contract With America), which allows Congress to reject rules before they become final. Moreover, Congress retains the plenary power to modify an existing rule or override it by passing a new statute. And Congress also keeps tabs on agencies through appropriations, hearings, and subpoena power.

But Young says the bill has the support of a broad coalition of local and national organizations and has been included in the GOP jobs plan and presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s economic agenda.

“The role of Congress in spurring the economy is to remove obstacles that stand in the way of private sector job growth. The best and easiest way we can do that is through regulatory reform.  With the REINS Act, Congressman Davis has come up with a simple and effective method to ensure that federal agencies can no longer bypass Congress with regulations that go beyond the intent of the law,” he says. “I look forward to championing this bill that he has put so much time and effort into making a popular, bipartisan solution to our regulatory challenges.”

The Senate version of the REINS Act is being sponsored by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and has 31 co-sponsors.

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