Send Regulations Back to Congress (Letter to the Editor)

Send Regulations Back to Congress (Letter to the Editor)

May 27, 1999
Originally published in The Washington Post

The Post is correct that substantial delegations of legislative authority to federal agencies, notably those involving "complex technical judgments," have been upheld by the courts ["A Reach on Regulation," editorial, May 19].

But a deeper issue shouldn't be Overlooked here. Ours is a represen-! tative democracy. We elect our Con gress, not agency technical experts.; The results of their expertise final regulations that often vastly outgrow their statutory roots—should go back to our elected representatives for (expedited) final approval.

The Post highlighted the importance of congressional accountability during contentious regulatory reform debates in 1996 ["Reviving Regulatory Reform," editorial, Feb. 11, 1996]. At that time, The Post praised a proposal giving Congress ma chance to vote down any regulation it found excessive." In so doing, according to The Post, "The people who passed the statutes would become accountable for the major regulations to which the statutes gave rise. . . . Let them then defend themselves . before the voters."'

Amen. If Congress had been required to vote on the EPA ozone and particulate matter standards, the coming debate about the D.C. Circuit Court's invalidation of those rules would have been avoided. •