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Armstrong, Congress must carefully consider REINS Act

Last week, U.S. Rep. Kelly Armstrong was among the House members introducing the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act.

The aptly named REINS Act, if taken up by the House and eventually becomes the law of the land, would ostensibly rein in major executive agencies’ regulations. It would require Congress and the president to approve rules that would have an annual impact on the economy of $100 million or more.

“This bill reasserts Congress’s role in writing laws and increases accountability to the American people by requiring congressional approval of regulations that would cost the economy over $100 million, drastically increase costs for consumers, or otherwise harm the economy,” said the Republican congressman from North Dakota, via a press release. “Reining in the unelected bureaucracy will save taxpayer dollars and keep the economy growing.”

There is certainly good intent behind the measure. Many in government and in business believe there are too many regulations that come from bureaucrats and not from congressional action. Regulators produce volumes of new regulations annually, which often cost the private sector and impact the overall economy. One of President Trump’s asserted goals is to continue eliminating regulations.

On the surface, the bill would make a lot of sense. Unelected bureaucrats shouldn’t be able to create regulations that seriously cost the economy without some sort of congressional oversight.

Doug Collins, R-Ga., another House member introducing the REINS Act said in a press release, “Article I of the Constitution, in its very first words, gives Congress the federal government’s legislative power, yet federal agencies routinely try to impose burdensome financial consequences without congressional input. That’s not right.”

That’s a perfectly reasonable argument.

However, the REINS Act, if taken up by a Democrat-controlled House for consideration warrants very serious debate. With the current state of vitriol and lack of cooperation between the two parties, regulatory approval could easily become yet another partisan hot potato, even impactful regulations that are perfectly reasonable.

That’s the risk in the REINS Act, and it should be very carefully considered.

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