Congress Introduces Legislation to Keep the Bureaucracy in Check
Because they cannot accomplish their radical goals through legislation, the Biden administration continues to weaken our individual liberties by using bureaucratic actions. From banning gas stoves to allowing men in women’s sports, there is no area of daily life they are not seeking to control. Congress has slowly handed over its powers to the bureaucratic state but thankfully, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives has a plan to reverse course.
In the first two years of the Biden presidency, the administration’s regulations cost the US economy $309 billion. This far surpassed the costs from rules implemented by Barack Obama — a mere $204 billion. Based on these numbers, the Biden administration alone will add $5 trillion to the national debt by 2030.
The scope of the federal bureaucracy has grown so large that the federal government is having a hard time counting all agencies and sub-agencies. The Administrative Conference of the United States has said that “there is no authoritative list of government agencies.” Unelected officials have been given free rein to create rules that function as laws. This completely contradicts Congress’s legislative powers as given by the Constitution.
Every December, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) publishes a list of government programs that result in wasteful spending. In 2022, he estimated that the federal government was overspending by almost $500 trillion. Reading through these programs (such as the study of the romance between parrots or researching hamsters fighting on steroids) may seem comical but the reality is that federal agencies have been given a blank check signed by American taxpayers to spend on all sorts of crazy and unpopular ideas.
Not only do these regulations affect our pocketbooks, but they also affect how we live our lives. Federal agencies, not your elected Representatives, are making rules regarding vaccine mandates, sexual orientation and gender identity politics, environmental agendas, and abortions by the Department of Defense and the Veterans Administration! These actions are an assault on our individual and religious liberties.
Under the Congressional Review Act of 1996 (CRA), Congress currently has the ability to disapprove or veto a regulation with a majority vote in both Houses that is then signed by the President. In order to use the CRA, the regulation has to be classified as a “major rule” that would cost the economy at least $100 million. However, only twenty regulations have been overturned using the CRA over the last twenty-seven years. Under the CRA, if Congress does nothing within the allotted time period, the rule goes into effect with the force of law.
The House has a bill ready to be voted on that will hold federal agencies accountable for their actions. The Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny “REINS” Act (H.R. 277) inverts the language of the CRA. Under the REINS Act, Congress would have to approve any “major” regulation before that rule could go into effect. Instead of agencies asking for forgiveness later, they would have to ask — and get — permission first before acting like legislators!
A vote scheduled for this week was delayed, as well as the votes on two bills protecting gas stoves, because of backlash to the debt ceiling “deal” made between House Leadership and the Biden Administration last week. Eleven House Freedom Caucus members voted against allowing the three bills to come to the floor, therefore delaying their consideration. Those members accused House Leadership of breaking promises made during the Speaker’s election and reverting to the unproductive “old ways” of doing things. From speaking personally to a conservative Member in Leadership and a House Freedom Caucus Member, we can report that both agree that there was a breakdown in the necessary communications between conservatives and Leadership during the final debt ceiling negotiations and that trust must be restored. One of the 11 to vote against advancing the bill this week said, “Conservatives cannot fall prey to allowing fakery to resume its usual dominance on Capitol Hill. We must pull leadership back to its commitments and pursue genuine accomplishment.”
House Republicans have assured us that the two gas stove bills and the REINS Act will have another opportunity to be voted on soon. We applaud those eleven members who are ensuring that promises made are in fact promises kept. Those members are: Reps. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), Dan Bishop (R-NC), Lauren Boebert (R-CO), Ken Buck (R-CO), Tim Burchett (R-TN), Elijah Crane (R-AZ), Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Bob Good (R-VA), Ralph Norman (R-SC), Matt Rosendale (R-MT), and Chip Roy (R-TX).