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 GrassleyGOP senators eager for Romney to join them Five hurdles to a big DACA and border deal Grand jury indicts Maryland executive in Uranium One deal: report 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 PaulNSA spying program overcomes key Senate hurdle Fix what we’ve got and make Medicare right this year Despite amnesty, DACA bill favors American wage-earners 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.