Regulation without Representation

| by CEI

By Ryan Young

Congress never actually votes on most regulations. Over 3,500 regulations hit the books most years. But Congress usually passes fewer than 200 bills. As Wayne Crews and I explain in today’s Investor’s Business Daily, this is regulation without representation.

Only Congress, and not agencies, have the power to legislate. But that is exactly what is happening now. Bills to regulate carbon emissions, regulate the Internet, and more all failed in Congress. But agencies are enacting rules. If you can’t legislate, regulate. This is wrong.

It allows politicians to escape blame for unpopular or controversial regulations. Don’t blame me, blame bureaucrats! It also gives agencies little incentive to rein in their worst impulses. If they can do whatever they want, they will work to expand their budget and authority.

The first step in solving the problem of regulation without representation is requiring Congress to vote on major regulations. Not all regulations — 3,500 votes is a bit much. And agencies do deserve some independence on administrative affairs and minor detail work.  But requiring 200 votes on major rules costing at least $100 million each is the least Congress should do.

The REINS Act, recently introduced by Rep. Geoff Davis and Sen. Rand Paul, would do just that. There are many facets to regulatory reform. There is much more to do. But putting a damper on regulation without representation is a good start.

You can read Wayne’s and my article here.