In recent months, there has been a common theme in Washington. Government agencies have abused their power, imposed unnecessary regulations and wasted millions in taxpayer dollars. With a growing list of abuses by federal agencies, South Dakotans are rapidly losing trust in their government.
Here in the House, we decided it was time to act. We designated July 29 -- August 2 as "Stop Government Abuse Week." We debated and passed a handful of bills that limit the power of federal agencies and instead empower individuals.
Each year, federal agencies issue hundreds of regulations -- regulations which go into effect without ever receiving a vote or fair debate in Congress. In fact, a study by the Small Business Administration found that annual regulatory compliance costs in the United States hit $1.75 trillion in 2008. Too often, major decisions are made by unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats who fail to understand how a regulation will impact families and businesses in South Dakota.
This is why the House passed the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act this week. The REINS Act, which I was proud to cosponsor, is a common-sense bill that requires Congress to take an up-or-down vote on all new major rules with an annual economic impact of $100 million or more before they can be enforced.
Small business owners and families are facing difficult decisions because of Obamacare and many are surprised to know the IRS is responsible for implementing over 50 different aspects of the President's health care law. This agency is already in trouble with Congress, and the American people, for its inappropriate and illegal targeting of political groups. I find it troubling that this same agency would enforce the disastrous health care law, one of the most expansive and expensive laws ever passed. I also voted for the "Keep the IRS off Your Health Care Act." This bill prohibits the IRS from implementing any portion of Obamacare.
I've heard from many South Dakotans who believe the federal government is out of touch -- and stories of lavish and expensive employee conferences only further damage the government's credibility. Last year, the General Services Administration spent $820,000 on a single conference in Las Vegas! In response, the House passed the Government Spending Accountability Act of 2013. The purpose of the bill is simple. It requires that federal agencies publicly post detailed information about conferences and also limits the amount agencies can spend on a single conference. I believe this bill is an important step in encouraging transparency and accountability.
The increasing size and role of bureaucracy is costly and further erodes the trust of the American people. This week was an important step in tipping the power back to the people and I was proud to vote for legislation that will restore balance in the government and save taxpayer dollars. I'd like to hear your opinions on legislation passed as part of "Stop Government Abuse Week," and would encourage you to contact one of my offices to share your thoughts and concerns.