Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) slammed the Obama administration at a hearing Tuesday for regulating through agency guidance, calling the directive for public schools on transgender bathroom use an “egregious example.”
The joint guidance from the Department of Justice and Department of Education released earlier this month directs public schools to allow transgender students to use the bathroom that matches their gender identity.
“If someone had said Title IX was designed to allow anatomically intact boys, who physiologically identify with girls, use the girls’ locker room, you would have been greeted with hoots of laughter,” King said, referring to the 1972 law prohibits anyone from being discriminated on the basis of sex.
King went on to say that the “unorthodox practice” of regulating through agency guidance has led to the type of legal uncertainty condemned by James Madison.
Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) fired back, asking King what James Madison’s position was on transgenderism.
“It was you label your own bathroom,” King replied.
“Did they even have that back then?” Cohen asked. “That’s the great thing about our Constitution, it can adjust and change with the times to address the current situation. James Madison probably didn’t have much of an opinion on it.”
The exchange took place at a hearing of the House Judiciary’s Task Force on Executive Overreach that GOP lawmakers called to discuss the growth of regulations and the burdens they say they impose on businesses and the economy.
Cohen said politicians often forget that Congress can limit the scope of agencies and restrict funding for rules it disproves of, but opponents often lack the votes necessary to do so. Instead, he said, outliers raise issues, recite rhetoric and propose changes to “muck up” the rulemaking process.
“Most of the protections provided by regulations are popular,” he said. “Most people like clear air, clean water. … It’s a nice thing.”