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A new Congress and a golden opportunity to REIN in government red tape

January 6, 2017

Regulations are important, but when taken to extremes, they hamper prosperity and degrade the well-being of hardworking Americans. Under the eight years of the Obama Administration, America has seen an unprecedented surge in the number of regulations

Currently, federal regulations imposed on America’s families and job creators add up to roughly $15,000 in economic costs per household per year. That is money that could be spent on a child’s education, paying off bills, or saving for the future.

In 2015, for instance, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was responsible for 9 of the 43 total major rules (those with an economic impact of $100 million or more), adding a regulatory burden of more than $11 billion. One of President Obama’s regulations in particular, the Clean Power Plan, accounts for $7.2 billion in annual costs, according to the EPA. This increase means hardworking American families’ electricity bills will, as the President put it, “necessarily skyrocket.”

With a new, reform-minded President in the White House, there will be a golden opportunity to change course – and this opportunity must not be lost.

The House has wasted no time getting down to business, passing two key bills to address this regulatory excess. They are the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act and the Midnight Rules Relief Act – both bills I was proud to co-sponsor.

In essence, the REINS Act would require approval from both chambers of Congress on major rules coming from government agencies, ensuring law making authority remains in the hands of the people’s elected representatives and not unelected bureaucrats.

Additionally, there is a growing trend of Presidents, of both parties, using their last few months in office to rush in costly, expensive, or controversial new regulations called “midnight rules.” The Obama administration has issued or plans to issue a total of 220 midnight rules within the scope of this bill, including multiple billion-dollar rules.

The Midnight Rules Relief Act allows Congress to reclaim the ability to effectively curtail multiple regulations hurried through the regulatory process in the final days of an outgoing Administration all at once. This bill is not a partisan or political attack. It is a good government bill that makes sure the will of the people is protected against last-ditch efforts by executives trying to sidestep Congress.

These bills make good sense. The simple truth is that without substantial reform, economic growth, and individual freedoms will continue their decline. The time to get our country back on the right track is now – we must not squander this opportunity.