Senate GOP building momentum for regulatory reform

A highly controversial regulatory reform bill is gaining steam in the Senate.

Long scorned by Democrats, the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act has found new life with Republicans in control of the Senate.

The head of the Senate Judiciary Committee announced Friday he is backing the REINS Act, adding more clout to the bill that was reintroduced earlier this week.

The REINS Act will help cut through the “bureaucratic red tape” in Washington, Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleySunk judicial pick spills over into Supreme Court fight Andrew Wheeler must reverse damage to American heartland Senators push to clear backlog in testing rape kits MORE (R-Iowa) said Friday.

"The new Congress brings with it a new opportunity to take a close look at the true impact of an unchecked regulatory system, and to consider common sense solutions that seek to restore accountability and transparency to the rulemaking process,” said Grassley, who is co-sponsoring the legislation that was introduced by Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulThe Hill's Morning Report — Trump and Congress at odds over Russia GOP leader blocks resolution backing intelligence community on Russia Rand Paul blocks Sanders's Russia resolution, calls it 'crazy hatred' against Trump MORE (R-Ky.).

The REINS Act is highly controversial, because it would give Republicans the ability to block major rules from the Obama administration.

Federal agencies would be required to submit major rules with an estimated economic impact of more than $100 million to Congress for approval. If both chambers do not approve of the regulation, it would be rejected.

Democrats say this is a ploy by Republicans to handicap the Obama administration’s regulatory agenda.

The REINS Act passed the House in 2011 and again in 2013, but it was not taken up by the Democratically-controlled Senate at the time.

But the new Republican majority seems bent on pushing through a number of regulatory reform bills, giving the REINS Act more hope than in past sessions of Congress.

Still, it’s unclear whether the GOP can muster enough votes in the Senate to bring it to the floor for a vote.

The REINS Act would also likely face a veto threat from President Obama.