Senator Rand Paul (Ky.) today introduced the REINS Act, or Regulations From the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act of 2011, on the Senate floor.
Designed to "increase accountability for and transparency in the Federal regulatory process," the REINS Act will result in better drafted and detailed legislation, an improved regulatory process, and will ultimately create a Legislative Branch accountable to the American people.
"I am proud to offer this legislation today alongside my fellow Kentuckian, Congressman Geoff Davis, in the House," Sen. Paul said Monday. "If Congress is to impose regulations and laws on U.S. citizens, it is important that those citizens are made aware of how they come to be. Cutting red tape and opening the regulatory process to scrutiny is an important step in holding government accountable to all Americans."
Joining Sen. Paul as co-sponsors are Republican Senators Jim DeMint (S.C.), John Ensign (Nev.), Chuck Grassley (Iowa), Tom Coburn (Okla.), Roy Blunt (Mo.), John Thune (S.D.), Mike Enzi (Wyo.), John Cornyn (Texas), Orrin Hatch (Utah), Saxby Chambliss (Ga.), Ron Johnson (Wis.), Johnny Isakson (Ga.), John Barrasso (Wyo.), Roger Wicker (Miss.), Kelly Ayotte (N.H.), Jeff Sessions (Ala.), Rob Portman (Ohio), Mike Johanns (Neb.), John Boozman (Ark.), David Vitter (La.), Mike Lee (Utah), James Inhofe (Okla.), Kay Bailey Hutchison (Texas), and Marco Rubio (Fla.).
"When liberals can't pass legislation, they enact regulations. As we have seen at the EPA and FCC, unelected bureaucrats can advance a radical, liberal agenda when it loses legislatively or in the courts. The accountability provided by the REINS Act is necessary to ensure federal agencies cannot unilaterally destroy jobs and harm our economy with unnecessary regulations," Sen. DeMint said. "Businesses should be focused on how best to invest and grow to create jobs, not on fending off burdensome micromanagement through regulation from Washington."
"The Code of Federal Regulation totals an expansive 163,333 pages, and we've already witnessed an expansion of administrative rulemaking over the last two years," Sen. Wicker said. "This legislation would go a long way toward restoring accountability in the rulemaking process. Congress should not be sidestepped and should play an important oversight role."
"Much of the recent growth in government comes from "blank checks' issued by Congress. Instead of voting on costly proposals, Congress passes bills telling the agencies to adopt new regulations -- without regard to the cost. The REINS Act will require them to go on the record on costly new regulatory regimes. Instead of passing the buck, the House and Senate will have to take responsibility for the burdensome mandates they seek to impose on taxpayers and businesses. This bill will help accountability, and limit the explosive growth of government," Sen. Johnson said.
"Year after year, Congress passes legislation which delegates more power to the executive branch. This means that major decisions affecting the lives and pocketbooks of Americans are increasingly decided by unelected officials in the executive branch instead of members of Congress who can be held accountable for their actions by their constituents. By reasserting the legislative authority given to Congress in the constitution, this bill would restore some of the checks and balances in our system of government that have been eroded," Sen. Grassley said.
"Utahns and other Americans across the nation are tired of this Administration putting too much power in the hands of unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats who are intent on sinking our economy though promulgating job-killing, anti-competitive and anti-business regulations," Sen. Hatch said. "This bill will protect families and the small-business owners who create 70 percent our nation's jobs from this Administration's onerous and counterproductive regulations."
"Over the past two years, President Obama and his Administration have continually used administrative rulemaking to side-step Congress to pass controversial policies," Sen. Thune said. "From overreaching climate policies, to costly health care regulations, this Administration continues to push policies that hamstring job creation and damage economic growth. The REINS Act would ensure that major regulatory action be approved by elected officials, not unelected bureaucrats, in an open and transparent manner."
"We all know that burdensome federal regulations can pose enormous challenges for businesses, as well as state and local governments. By giving Congress oversight authority over major new executive branch rules, we can take an important step toward stopping the proliferation of heavy-handed Washington mandates," Sen. Ayotte said.
"As I travel Ohio talking to workers and small business leaders, time and again I hear about how new regulations handed down by the Obama Administration are making it harder for companies to grow, and to create the jobs we need to get our country back on track," Sen. Portman said. "This legislation will restore order to our system of government and challenge the status quo that has encouraged the growth of government by regulatory fiat."
"There is sign on the side of a building in Wyoming that says, "As regulations grow, freedoms die.' This bill allows Congress to hold federal agencies' feet to the fire to keep regulations in check," Sen. Enzi said.
"In the past few years, faceless bureaucrats in executive branch agencies have increasingly burdened taxpayers and small businesses with costly regulations," said Sen. Vitter. "This unprecedented bureaucratic power grab has twisted the constitutional process and cost millions of taxpayer dollars. The REINS Act will reclaim the Congress' proper policymaking role."
"The current administration's onerous mandates and regulations hamper private sector job creation and further the climate of uncertainty that has stalled our nation's economy. Americans deserve a transparent and accountable regulatory process so job creators can expand their businesses and hire more workers nationwide," Sen. Blunt said.
"The Administration shouldn't be allowed to use regulation to stifle job creation by saddling American businesses and consumers with new and more costly rules. This bill will help restore accountability by reestablishing Congress' role in the lawmaking process and help put an end to harmful policymaking by unelected agencies and bureaucrats," Sen. Cornyn said. "As a longtime supporter of increased transparency, I'm proud to support any legislation that makes the current lawmaking process more open and honest, and to be a cosponsor of this bill, which holds the Administration more accountable for things we do."
"Too often federal agencies overstep their boundaries and enact expensive mandates without congressional approval. This is commonsense legislation that provides a check-and-balance between Congress and the executive branch," Sen. Boozman said.
"In recent years we have witnessed unelected and unaccountable federal officials imposing broad, detrimental rules on our nation's economy without congressional approval," Sen. Chambliss said. "This legislation will create an additional "check' against the executive branch and provide for greater oversight and transparency."
"Members of Congress like to talk a good game about protecting their constitutional rights. Yet, in reality, we delegate an enormous amount of authority to federal agencies. The REINS Act will help Congress retake the rule-making authority it has ceded to the executive branch and bring the regulatory process under control," Sen. Coburn said.
"The Executive Branch continues to circumvent American democratic principles by appointing czars and agency heads who oversee the creation of thousands of new regulations every single year. For every law that Congress passes, the Administration creates scores of new regulations. These regulations drive up the cost of our products and make America less competitive worldwide. They reduce American energy production and jobs, and force up the price of gasoline. Many of these regulations have huge costs and bypass the system of checks and balances put into place by our Founding Fathers. The REINS Act would implement important changes in the rulemaking process to limit such rulemaking authority, and would ensure that Congress passes judgment on major rules that could affect our economy," Sen. Sessions said.
"American entrepreneurs and businesses know all too well how bad legislation can lead to job-destroying uncertainty. Just as bad as anti-jobs legislation is the proverbial devil in the details of laws that empower unelected bureaucrats to write rules and regulations that can increase costs, stifle investment and ultimately hold back job creation. The REINS Act is an important measure that will bring greater transparency and accountability to a regulatory system that has been undermining private sector job creation," Sen. Rubio said.
"Over-regulation from the federal government is hurting the nation's job creation capabilities," Sen. Inhofe said. "Greater transparency is vital to help the American people keep their government accountable for what is being imposed upon them. I am pleased to join my Senate colleagues in introducing the REINS Act that does just that."