Directing Commitees to Review Regulations from Federal Agencies

Floor Speech

By:  Trey Gowdy III
Date: Feb. 11, 2011
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. GOWDY. I rise in support of H. Res. 72, but I also want to commend the distinguished gentleman from Texas (Mr. Smith) for not only his leadership on this issue but also the judicious way in which he leads our Committee on the Judiciary.

The Constitution gives Congress limited but critical functions. The very same Constitution that we all swore an allegiance to when we took the oath, the very same Constitution that we read when we started the 112th Congress, gives important, limited, critical functions to Congress, and one of those functions is to pass laws that are easily understood and reasonably enforced. It is not the function of this body to merely pass broad ideas and leave it up to someone else, an unelected official in the executive branch, to fill in the details.

And make no mistake, I do not blame those in the executive branch. I blame the Congress of the United States for abdicating its responsibility. Nature abhors a vacuum, and one look at our code of Federal regulations--and I encourage anyone, anyone who challenges this or doubts it, go to your local library and look at the code of Federal regulations, and you will see that that vacuum created by this body has been more than filled by the executive branch.

The labyrinth that has become this Nation's regulatory scheme has exported jobs, imported litigation, all the while eroding the very limited amount of public trust that is left in the institutions of government.

We had a witness, Madam Speaker, in Judiciary yesterday, and I asked him a very simple question: When you get a call from a member of the executive branch who works with a regulatory agency, is your first impression that he or she is there to help or to accuse? And this representative of middle America, a businessman from Kentucky, without hesitation said, They are there to accuse. It is an adversarial relationship between the regulators and our business creators.

We do not and should not leave it to the FBI to decide what is bank robbery. We do not and should not leave it to the Drug Enforcement Administration to decide which controlled substances under title 21 should be criminalized or not. That is a function of this body. The executive branch does not write laws, at least not yet, in this Republic. Yet we let other regulatory agencies decide the very details that either create or destroy the environment that is conducive to creating jobs.

While other Congresses may have delegated and abdicated, we must reclaim the responsibility to govern and legislate, and the accountability that is attendant thereto. H. Res. 72 does exactly that, and I am pleased to rise in its support.


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