By Benjamin Goad - 08/02/13 06:59 PM EDT
House Republicans claimed victory Friday in their weeklong effort to rein in a federal government “run amok,” as they sought to carry momentum for their assault on the Obama administration’s regulatory policies into the August recess.
But Republicans say they are intent bringing their message of federal government overreach to constituents in their home districts.
“We’ve taken action this week to stop the abuse, to hold these federal agencies accountable,” House Republican Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris RodgersCathy McMorris RodgersGOP campaign chief: Turn up the heat on Clinton GOP rep: Ryan's agenda to restore representative government Restoring the VA's promise to veterans MORE (R-Wash.) said.
Flanked by a group of House Republicans outside the Capitol, McMorris Rodgers touted the chamber’s approval of bills giving Congress power to block costly regulations, those involving healthcare, or any rule proposing to tax carbon emissions.
Other measures passed as part of the initiative would add restrictions on Energy Department rules and bar the Internal Revenue Service from implementing any provisions of ObamaCare.
“The last thing the American people want is the Internal Revenue Service being able to implement and enforce ObamCare,” said Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), author of that legislation. “We’re doing the kinds of things that the American people want us to do.”
The Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act, which passed 232-183, would require Congress to approve all federal regulations relating to the implementation of ObamaCare.
“It allows people in Congress to take responsibility for regulations,” said Rep. Keith Rothfus (R-Pa.).
The House also approved bills designed to limit bonuses for federal workers, allow people to record calls with federal workers and give agencies the discretion to immediately fire workers for misconduct.
“Let’s hold them accountable,” Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) demanded. “What an odd concept, to hold those people you elected and hold those people that work for you accountable.”
McMorris Rodgers said Republicans are hopeful that the bills, which drew fierce opposition in from House Democrats, would be taken seriously in the Senate.
But they all face a tough road ahead in the upper chamber, and the White House has already threatened to veto some of them in the unlikely event they get to his desk.
Critics and defenders of stronger regulations have brushed off the GOP effort as a political show.