House to vote next week on bill to curb agency power

House to vote next week on bill to curb agency power
© Greg Nash

Rep. John Ratcliffe’s (R-Texas) bill to limit agencies’ federal rulemaking authority is headed to the floor for a vote next week.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) confirmed the scheduled floor time for the Separation of Powers Restoration Act while giving his weekly address on the floor Thursday afternoon.

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The bill, which passed the House Judiciary Committee last week, would overturn the Supreme Court’s 1984 decision in Chevron USA v. the Natural Resources Defense Council. In that case, the justices held that courts should defer to agencies’ interpretations of “ambiguous” statutes written by Congress.

It also amends the Administrative Procedure Act to require courts to conduct a new review of all relevant questions of law instead of relying on agency interpretations.

In an interview with The Hill earlier this week, Ratcliffe said his bill is the first to come out of the bicameral Article I project led by Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeProminent conservative passes on Utah Senate bid Johnson says he will not support tax-reform bill Moore endorsements disappear from campaign website MORE (R-Utah).

“The idea behind the whole Article I project is frankly an acknowledgement that we can all talk about executive overreach and complain about it, but part of the problem is really due to legislative under-reach and that Congress is partly to blame here.”

Ratcliffe contends that Congress has delegated too much of its regulatory authority to the agencies.

Democrats, however, argue that the bill would turn unelected judges into regulators.

Ratcliffe called the argument from his opponents a “total red herring.”

“They feigned outrage that we would require judges to conduct de novo reviews as if it was some novel idea. That’s a standard by which judges and courts arbitrate matters all the time and frankly judges as opposed to unelected bureaucrats are trained to do with that with respect to the legal reasoning behind the law.”