The House passed a bill that would require major regulations from agencies to secure approval from Congress.
The Regulations from the Executive In Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act made it through on June 14 with 221 yeas and 210 nays.
The bill, also known as H.R. 277, can be read here.
In the hours before the vote, representatives debated multiple amendments to it.
The House agreed to multiple amendments from Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) as well as amendments from other lawmakers.
One offered by Rep. Harriet Hageman (R-Wyo.), Wyoming’s replacement for Liz Cheney, would make the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs assess whether every rule has a significant economic impact.
One from Rep. Bob Good (R-Va.) enables Congress to review all existing agency rules over a half-decade period.
An amendment from Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) to lower the threshold for a “major regulation” from one with a likely economic impact of $100 million to one with a likely economic impact of $50 million failed.
Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) expressed concern over the measure.
“I think it’s an effort at deregulation that would weaken the ability to have common-sense regulation for safety,” he told The Epoch Times in a June 14 interview.
“I think we have to, no pun intended, rein in executive overreach,” said Rep. Kevin Hern (R-Okla.) in comments to The Epoch Times on June 14.
REINS on the Administrative State
By requiring agencies to gain the favor of Congress, the measure adds to and flips the standard under the Congressional Review Act.
As it currently stands, the Congressional Review Act can allow Congress to stop new agency rules through a joint resolution of disapproval—a simple piece of legislation that must pass both the House and the Senate.
Congress first tried to pass the REINS Act more than a decade ago, soon after Republicans made massive gains in the 2010 midterm election.
“The tremendous significance of the REINS Act has led to fierce debate about both its constitutionality and its wisdom,” George Washington University Law Professor Jonathan Siegel wrote in a law review article (pdf) at the time.
The first state-level REINS Act was passed in Wisconsin in 2017 under then-Governor Scott Walker.
In a June 5 committee hearing on the REINS Act and other legislation, Republicans suggested that existing tools, including the joint resolution of disapproval, are inadequate for exercising authority over the administrative state.
“Just in the 118th Congress, both the House and the Senate passed legislation to overturn the unlawful WOTUS [Waters of the United States] rule as issued by the EPA, to overturn the tariff repeal on solar panels made in China, and to overturn the radical ESG requirements imposed on banks,” said Rep. Jody Hice (R-Ga.) during the hearing.
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