Iain Murray discusses regulatory reform in the National Review:
Representative Bill Flores’s Terms of Credit Act, which sought to pair the debt limit increase with significant spending cuts and deregulatory measures, failed to win enough support to advance in the House last Friday. That is a shame, as one of its provisions aggressively tackled the regulatory burden holding back the American economy.
That provision calls for a complete freeze on significant regulatory activity until 2017. It defines “significant” regulations as those imposing an annual cost to the economy of over $50 million a year — down from the longstanding $100 million threshold — with exceptions for imminent threats to public health and safety and trade treaty obligations. The bill also would have stopped this administration’s issuing any “midnight regulations” at the end of its term.
The Terms of Credit Act would only have been a good start in reining in the regulatory state. President Obama has boasted of his ability to rule the nation with his “pen and phone,” and has even started to govern not by edict, but by blog post. Congress created this problem by delegating legislative power to the executive branch, and so needs to do much to fix it.