UPDATED: Three Reasons the REINS Act Must Be Stopped (Again)
by Katie Greenhaw
May 22, 2013
1/25/2013: Rep. Todd Young (R-IN) reintroduced the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act (H.R. 367) this week, making this the third time the bill has been introduced. If passed, the REINS Act would require congressional approval of all major rules, potentially endangering the most important safeguards to our health, safety, environment, and economy.
Here are three reasons why the REINS Act must be stopped (again):
1. It would delay or block public protections.
The bill would require that Congress approve standards and safeguards within 70 legislative days. If both chambers fail to meet this deadline, the rules in question would be "tabled," essentially killing them.
Taking congressional gridlock into account, it is unlikely that both the House and the Senate will find time to approve major rules.
2. It would increase political and industry interference with agency science and expertise.
Under the REINS Act, Congress would second-guess agency expertise and science on food safety, worker safety, air pollution, water contamination, and a host of other issues. When developing protective rules, agencies already go through a lengthy, multifaceted process that includes several layers of study, review, and public comment. Politicizing agency science and the rulemaking process at the behest of special interests is indefensible.
3. It's redundant.
Congress already approves rules when it writes laws requiring agencies to establish standards and safeguards. The REINS Act would require another vote on the rules that implement the laws Congress has already passed, making the bill redundant.
The REINS Act would cause additional delays and give special interests another opportunity to undermine public protections. It didn't pass both houses of Congress the first two times, and for good reason. Stay tuned, as we will need your voice to help stop this damaging legislation.
UPDATE (02/27/2013): The House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law will hold a hearing on the REINS Act on Tuesday, March 5, at 11:30 a.m. For those who would like to attend in person, the hearing will be held at 2141 Rayburn House Office Building at Independence Ave. and South Capitol St. in Washington, DC. Hearings are also often webcast on the Judiciary Committee's website. Please write to your House representatives and urge them to oppose the REINS Act using our convenient action alert form.
UPDATE (02/28/2013): This week, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) reintroduced his REINS Act companion bill in the Senate. The anti-regulatory legislation does not yet have a Senate bill number.
UPDATE (03/18/2013): Despite the dangers that the REINS Act poses to Americans' health, safety, and quality of life, the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial, and Antitrust Law is moving ahead with a markup of the bill this Wednesday, March 20. Remember that you can take action and urge your House representatives to oppose this damaging bill!
UPDATE (03/20/2013): Ignoring the problems the REINS Act will cause, the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial, and Antitrust Law voted 6-3 to send the bill to the full committee The vote was along party lines. Don't forget to tell your House representatives to oppose the REINS Act!
UPDATE (03/21/2013): Sens. James Risch (R-ID) and Rand Paul (R-KY) filed amendments to the Senate Budget Resolution that would mandate REINS Act-like congressional review of new "major" standards and safeguards. Like the REINS Act itself, these amendments would have ground the rulemaking process to a halt, putting Americans in harm's way from health, safety, environmental, and economic hazards. The amendments did not pass.
UPDATE (04/09/2013): Continuing the work started by one of its subcommittees, the full House Judiciary Committee will mark up the REINS Act on Thursday, April 11. You can take action and urge your House representatives to oppose this dangerous bill!
UPDATE (05/09/2013): Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has filed a REINS Act amendment to the unrelated Water Resources Development Act (S. 601). Like the attempted March amendments to the Senate Budget Resolution, Paul's amendment would sneak the REINS Act in through the back door, suppressing full debate on a piece of legislation that would have wide-ranging and damaging effects on Americans' health, safety, and quality of life.
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