Conservatives push for bill checking regulations

A group of conservative organizations is asking the Senate to pass a bill that would give Congress new powers to check the flow of regulations.

The Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act allows for “meaningful congressional oversight” of major new rules, the leaders of 14 organizations wrote on Monday.

“The REINS Act offers Congress an opportunity to re-affirm beneficial agency rules, yet still reject rules which do more harm than good,” they wrote.

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“The bill thus rebalances the power dynamic in Washington, giving it back to those who are accountable to the American people — at the expense of unelected bureaucrats. Our Constitution demands nothing less.”

The bill, which would require Congress to sign off on any regulation with an annual price tag of $100 million or more, passed the House in August, largely along party lines. 

Democrats, who control the upper chamber of Congress, have largely panned the REINS Act, and the chamber has yet to take up a version introduced by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.).

President Obama has also pledged to veto the legislation if it ever reached his desk.

Leaders of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, FreedomWorks, Americans for Prosperity, Americans for Tax Reform, Campaign for Liberty and other organizations signed the letter on Monday.

Conservatives and critics of government regulation say that the REINS Act would help protect Americans from overzealous federal regulators.

Government agencies, they claim, sometimes issue regulations only loosely based in the laws passed by Congress. That has the effect of stifling economic growth and giving power to unelected agency regulators, they maintain.

Critics of the bill allege that it makes it too difficult to issue new regulations that protect the public from a number of risks. They say that the courts hold agencies in check and prevent them from deviating too far from mandates passed by Congress.

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