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Mr. YOUNG of Indiana. I thank so much the gentleman from Georgia for his hard work on this issue, working with our colleague, Mr. Yoho of Florida, and organizing this freshman initiative designed to tackle overly burdensome regulations, ensure that we produce smart regulations here at the Federal level and alleviate some of the pain during this very down economy that so many Americans are facing.
You know, when you talk about regulations, this is not some arcane issue. These are the rules we live by, just like the legislation that emerges out of this body. It impacts our jobs, our economic growth, the level of personal income that Americans enjoy. It impacts the number of long-term unemployed we have in this country, and right now we're at a historic low. It impacts these things and so many others.
People have too many hassles, too many burdens, too many anxieties, and regulations are a big part of the reason why. There are direct costs of regulations that come out of the alphabet soup agencies that populate Washington, D.C.
There are compliance costs that our small
businesses, in particular, must contend with. There's a great deal of uncertainty associated with the regulations being developed in the buildings around Washington, D.C.; and regulations lead to an increase in the costs of our goods and services produced, thus making us less competitive economically vis-a-vis our international competitors. Regulations reduce, oftentimes, the productivity of our workers, which drives down their wages, which hurts our competitiveness once again.
So what's the solution to this?
Well, we here in Congress, especially folks on this side of the aisle--although, I have to say, this doesn't have to be a partisan issue, and, historically, it has not always been. I think that's a good thing. But we on this side of the aisle have been trying to alleviate the pain that many businesses and Americans feel by the costliest regulations coming out of Washington, D.C. I think that is proper, and I think we should continue to do so.
But I also believe it's time for us to consider a comprehensive approach to improving the entire regulatory process, and so that's why I have introduced, in this 113th Congress, the REINS Act.
Now, what the REINS Act does is it establishes a $100 million threshold. This is the threshold established historically by our Office of Management and Budget for a so-called major regulation. And every major regulation, after it goes through the public hearing process, under the REINS Act, it has to go before Congress for an up-or-down vote before it can become the law of the land.
This would improve immeasurably the quality of regulations that come out of Washington, D.C. It would slow down the regulatory process, to be sure. But let's remember, our Founding Fathers devised a system where they wanted people in Washington to deliberate before we acted. This would lead to more deliberation, wiser judgment.
This would also allow the American people, the citizens of this great country, to weigh in on given regulations, ones they feel passionately about.
And, most importantly, the REINS Act would hold Members of Congress accountable for the regulations that come out of Washington.
You know, of course it would allow us to tame some of the executive agencies that have gone rogue from time to time, that pass unwise regulations. But I think, more importantly, it would allow those who elect us to bodies like this to hold us accountable for the things that cause pain to them, those imperial regulations that are promulgated from a distant Capitol, which our Founding Fathers were so upset about when this Nation was founded.
To the issue of congressional accountability, too many vague laws are made in this body--Dodd-Frank, the Affordable Care Act. I could go on and on. We pass and we kick the can down the road, as is often heard, on sticky issues, politically sensitive issues that politicians don't want to deal with because we know ultimately there will be regulators to fill in the gaps of our vague laws.
Well, the REINS Act would prevent that. It would incentivize Members of Congress to take on the hard issues in the beginning because they'd know that in the end those issues are going to come back and have to be resolved in this body.
When I go home and meet with small business people and individual constituents and they speak to me about specific regulations that are causing them pain, oftentimes, the best I can do and my colleagues can do is say, Listen, we'll try and repeal that particular regulation by preventing it from being implemented at the agency and by impacting the funding of that agency. These are very difficult things to do, and it's so incredibly difficult to identify all the bad regulations that are out there. But under the REINS Act, that would no longer be an acceptable excuse to my constituents. Unelected bureaucrats, in the end, would not be accountable; Members of Congress would. And that is the intent, in the end, of the REINS Act.
Now, I believe in regulations, smart regulations, and this bill is about improving the regulatory process so that here in the United States of America this remains a vibrant place to live with a growing economy. Our rules must be balanced against economic concerns. The American people must have a voice about what those rules will be, and Congress cannot skirt responsibility to legislate.
Again, I'd like to close here by thanking those who led this effort--Mr. Collins, in particular, for leading the floor conversation this evening. He's shown some great leadership as a freshman. He's working very hard. I know he came here, as did other Members, the freshman class of the 113th Congress, to make a difference. By supporting the REINS Act, I think you will help advance that cause in a very big way.
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