2:40pm

Thu December 8, 2011
All Politics are Local

Limits on Executive Branch Clear House

A bill sponsored by U.S. Rep. Geoff Davis, R-Ky., that would give Congress more power over regulations made by the executive branch easily passed the Republican-controlled House on Wednesday. The Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act was introduced by the northern Kentucky congressman earlier this year to “eliminate excessive red tape,” and jump start the economy.

It was approved by the House in a 241-to-184 vote, with four Democrats joining the GOP majority.

Davis says the bill is about bringing more transparency to the federal government and making sure regulations are not hurting economic growth.

“The point of the REINS Act is accountability. Each member of Congress must take a stand and be accountable for regulations that will have the greatest impact on our economy. Regulatory compliance costs small businesses an estimated $10,500 per employee annually. At a time of high unemployment, we must do something about this massive burden,” he says.

The measure would require that Congress take an up-or-down vote on any major rule changes that would have more than $100 million annual economic impact, which supporters have called an effort to achieve more openness in government.

But critics have blasted the legislation as unnecessary and promoting further gridlock.

“I continue to be disappointed that House Republicans are wasting Congress’s time on ideologically-driven bills to erode federal protections for consumers and communities instead of working on a plan to create jobs,” House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said in a statement. “The REINS Act would undermine our ability to protect children from harmful toys, prevent asthma and lung ailments resulting from pollution, and ensure that our small businesses can compete fairly in the marketplace.”

The White House has threatened to veto the REINS Act, saying it threatens the separation of powers and upsets the framework setup in the U.S. Constitution. Political observers contend the bill won’t be taken up in the Democratic-controlled Senate, where is has been sponsored by U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., who praised his fellow Kentuckian and promised to work tirelessly for its passage.

“The onus is now on my colleagues in the Senate to concur, and vote for this common-sense legislation that will bring transparency and accountability back to Congress and out of the hands of the droves of unelected bureaucrats currently driving regulations unchecked,” he says.