Cruz: Regulations slowing economy

Regulations from overzealous federal agencies are hampering the economy's growth, according to Sen. Ted CruzTed CruzGOP senators distance themselves from House ObamaCare repeal bill Cruz: Jokes about me in Franken's book 'obnoxious' The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (R-Texas).

On Tuesday, the senator said innovation in the market is being held back by regulators who are unaccountable to voters and independent of the White House.

In the last four years, regulators have finalized 330 rules that are anticipated to have an annual economic impact of $100 million or more, dubbed "major" rules. 

"We wonder why economic growth is staggering, why it is sputtering along," he said at a panel on growth of the regulatory bureaucracy. "When you have 330 major rules, each having the aggregate impact of $100 million or more, it is unsurprising that growth is stifled."

Cruz added, "What we have seen, and what we continue to see, is more and more decisions being made not on Capitol Hill, not by individuals who are accountable to the people, elected by the people, but by unelected members of the regulatory state, and more and more by those who don't even claim to be under Article Two," the portion of the Constitution that outlines the executive branch.

Cruz's remarks came at a conference organized by The Federalist Society, a conservative legal organization.

In response to the new major rules, Republicans have pushed for the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act, which would require Congress to sign off on any regulation expected to have an impact of $100 million or more. Democrats have opposed the measure, arguing it would politicize the regulatory process and make it harder to issue needed rules.

The bill passed the House last Congress, and this year, a version introduced by Rep. Todd YoungTodd YoungSenate panel could pass new Russia sanctions this summer The Hill's 12:30 Report Democrats come out on top during congressional charity soccer game MORE (R-Ind.) has gained 159 co-sponsors. A companion in the Senate, however, has been slow to gain momentum.

"What we need to do to pass something like the REINS Act is make the broader case to the American people," Cruz said. He claimed that publicity of the Affordable Care Act was driving its unpopularity, a model that lawmakers should follow to combat other regulations.

He added, "We need to make the case in VFW halls. We need to make the case at PTA meetings that the impact of these regulations are harming the economy and harming jobs. That's how we change the dynamic and get the REINS Act passed."