Reason discusses Rand Paul’s REINS Act with Clyde Wayne Crews.
A Senate committee vote on Wednesday is a new high water mark for a long-sought-after regulatory reform proposal. Further progress, though, might be unlikely.
The U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee approved the REINS Act (the acronym stands for “Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny”), sending the bill to the Senate floor for the first time. While the REINS Act has cleared the House several times in recent years—most recently in January—this is the first time the proposal has been approved by a vote of any kind in the Senate.
Sponsored by Sen. Ran Paul (R-Kentucky), the REINS Act would require every new regulation that costs more than $100 million to be approved by Congress. As it is now, executive branch agencies can pass those rules unilaterally, and even though those major rules account for only 3 percent of annual regulations, they are the ones that cause the most headaches for individuals and businesses.
Passage of the REINS Act would also require Congress to review all existing regulations that surpass the $100 million threshold. Since there’s no clear accounting of how many such rules exist, assessing the landscape would be a necessary step before reforms could be enacted.
While the committee vote is a win for the legislation, another bill also approved by the same committee on Wednesday is a more likely vehicle for regulatory reforms this year. Clyde Wayne Crews, the vice president for policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a free market think tank that favors regulatory reform, tells Reason that he doesn’t expect a floor vote on Paul’s bill this year—though he admits it’s difficult to predict anything in Washington.
The Regulatory Accountability Act does not go as far as the REINS Act, but “it helps pave the way for more substantial reforms in the future,” says Crews.
What of President Donald Trump’s promise to reshape the federal regulatory state—to bring about the “deconstruction of the regulatory state,” as White House adviser Steve Bannon promised in March?
“It’s not that,” says Crews. “The administrative state will be just fine. It won’t solve every problem, but it might allow our descendants to do so.”
Read the full article at Reason.