Washington, D.C., February 8, 2011 – This week is good news for those who have advocated regulatory reform as a means of boosting the economy. Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Jim DeMint (R-S.C) introduced the REINS Act to curtail the out-of-control administrative state, and Rep. Darrell Issa will hold a hearing this Thursday on, “Regulatory Impediments to Job Creation.”
The Competitive Enterprise Institute provided comments for Rep. Issa’s hearing that can be read here.
Statement by John Berlau, Director, CEI Center for Investors and Entrepreneurs
“The REINS Act, introduced last evening in the Senate by Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), is at heart about accountability in government. The issue is not just one of good politics or even good policy, but of constitutional government as well. Article 1, Section 1 of the Constitution vests “all legislative powers” in the U.S. Congress. Yet what most often happens in today’s administrative state is that regulators in the executive branch, technically changed to enforcing provisions of laws, actually write much of the law as applied.
Sometimes this takes place due to creative interpretations, such as defining a farmer’s wetland the size of a mud puddle as a “navigable waterway” under the Clean Water Act. But more often than not, Congress under the control of both parties has been deliberately vague so as to pass the buck to regulators and escape accountability. New York Law School Professor David Schoenbrod has called this practice — and his critique of it published by Yale University Press — “Power Without Responsibility.”
The recently passed 2,500-page Dodd-Frank Act, for instance, gives the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection the power to ban an “abusive” financial product without defining what “abusive” means. You can bet when the agency defines as “abusive” a product or service that many constituents like, Congress will wash its hands of the matter and blame the agency.”
Statement by Wayne Crews, Director, CEI Center for Investors and Entrepreneurs
“The federal government need not tell the grass to grow; it just needs to take the rock off of it. In that regard, the REINS Act would serve as an earth-mover and help foster deep-rooted economic recovery.
“We’re stuck in today’s over-regulation mess because for too long, lawmakers have not merely tolerated the delegation of sweeping lawmaking power to unelected agencies, but fostered it. Congress has severed the power to establish regulatory programs from the responsibility for the results of those programs, taking credit for whatever good regulations do but blaming agencies for costs. But voters have no recourse against agencies. It’s an out of control, arguably even unconstitutional, situation that REINS could help bring under control.”
For more information:
› Crews can be reached at [email protected]
› Read more by Wayne Crews on CEI.org.
› Berlau can be reached at [email protected] or at his cell, (202) 415-3192
› Read more by John Berlau on CEI.org.