UPDATE: Three Reasons the REINS Act Must Be Stopped (Again)
by Katie Weatherford, 1/23/2015
UPDATE (1/23/2015): Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Rep. Todd Young (R-IN) reintroduced the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act (S. 226 and H.R. 427) on Jan. 21, making this the fourth time the bill has been introduced in the House and Senate. If passed, the REINS Act would require congressional approval of all "major" rules (i.e., rules with an estimated annual economic impact of $100 million or more), 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 three times, and for good reason. You can make your voice heard right now and help us stop this damaging legislation.
Image by flickr user Frisno, used under a Creative Commons license.