Kerrigan on House Passage of REINS Act: Time for Congress to Regulate the Regulators

By at 29 July, 2015, 8:23 am


Time for Congress to ‘Regulate the Regulators’

Washington, DC—Karen Kerrigan, President and CEO of the Center for Regulatory Solutions (CRS) and the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council, applauded the House of Representatives for passing H.R. 427 (243-165), the “Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act of 2015,”  and issued the following statement:

For far too long, Congress has abdicated its responsibility under the Constitution by delegating its legislative responsibilities to executive branch regulatory agencies, avoiding the hard choices involved in lawmaking. Thus it’s no surprise that small businesses and entrepreneurs routinely contend with an overreaching, and at times dictatorial, federal bureaucracy, which has gladly filled the power vacuum granted to it by Congress. Because many landmark federal statutes—governing everything from banking and finance, to healthcare, consumer protection, and energy and environmental policy—are vague and open-ended, federal bureaucrats are able to make law themselves, becoming legislator and regulator all in one.

The REINS Act would reassert Congress’s paramount legislative authority through a fast-track legislative process. It requires Congress to pass within 60 days a joint resolution approving a new major regulation issued by a regulatory agency before the regulation could take effect. This requirement will help block the ideologically driven regulations that have been hampering innovation, destroying jobs, undermining competitiveness, and slowing economic growth. On behalf of CRS and the SBE Council, I applaud the leaders in the House today, particularly Rep. Todd Young (R-IN), who drafted this important legislation and helped bring it to a vote. It’s now time for the Senate to take up the REINS Act and send it to President Obama for his signature.”

The REINS Act reforms the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to require congressional approval of major agency regulations before the regulations can go into effect. Major regulations are those that cost the economy $100 million or more, increase costs or prices for consumers, or otherwise adversely affect the economy. The need for reform is acute. According the House Judiciary Committee:

  • “As time has gone by, and particularly since the onset of the Obama administration, the need for CRA reform has become all the more pressing. In 2014, for example, Federal agencies promulgated 3,541 final rules, while Congress passed and the President signed into law only 224 statutes. The total costs of Federal regulation, meanwhile, are estimated to exceed $1.8 trillion—a figure that equals eleven percent of the United States’ 2013 Gross Domestic Product.”
  • “Many other regulations, moreover, have been promulgated since and will surely continue to be issued under the Obama administration—such as the many still intended to implement the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. These regulations just as surely will add large additional costs to the regulatory burden on U.S. job creators and the U.S. economy. From 2009 through 2013, for example, the Obama administration issued on average 81 new major regulations per year.”

The Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council is a nonprofit advocacy, research and education organization that works to protect small business and promote entrepreneurship.  CRS is a project of SBE Council. For more information, visit:



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