GOP senator wants to create panel to rein in regs

Greg Nash

Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) is planning to introduce a resolution Wednesday to create a committee to review rules enacted by federal agencies.

The Regulation Sensibility Through Oversight Restoration, or RESTORE, Resolution would establish a Joint Select Committee to review new rules, hold hearings on the effects of those already in place and recommend ways to reduce regulatory overreach.

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The committee will also analyze whether it’s feasible for Congress to create a permanent committee to review all rules with economic impacts of $50 million or more before they are enacted.

In a call with reporters Wednesday morning, Rounds said unelected bureaucrats are enacting agency rules behind closed doors.

“These bureaucrats have essentially become the fourth branch of government and a de facto regulatory body," he said.

But Rounds doesn’t expect this permanent rules review committee to be formed over night.

“This is something Democrats and Republicans have to agree to do,” he said. “I think it could take two years to get it done.”

But he does have some Democratic support already. So far, he said, Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin (W.Va.) has signed on as a co-sponsor, as well as GOP Sens. John Thune (S.D.), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and John Hoeven (N.D.).

“Congress should have the ability to look back at rules and decide whether or not they are appropriate,” Rounds said. “If the American public disagree with a bureaucrat there is no recourse.”

Lawmakers can, however, he said, be voted out of office. 

According to the Competitive Enterprise Institute, federal regulation and intervention cost American consumers and businesses an estimated $1.88 trillion in 2014.