House Votes to Limit Rule Making Authority of Federal Agencies

The House recently passed legislation that would limit the rule making authority of federal agencies.

The House approved legislation this week that would limit the rule making authority of federal agencies.

Known as the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act of 2017 (REINS Act, H.R. 26), the legislation was introduced by Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA).

According to the bill’s stated purpose, it would increase accountability and transparency in the federal regulatory process:

Section 1 of article I of the United States Constitution grants all legislative powers to Congress. Over time, Congress has excessively delegated its constitutional charge while failing to conduct appropriate oversight and retain accountability for the content of the laws it passes. By requiring a vote in Congress, the REINS Act will result in more carefully drafted and detailed legislation, an improved regulatory process, and a legislative branch that is truly accountable to the American people for the laws imposed upon them.

The bill would require all new major rules proposed by federal agencies – those that have an impact of $100 million or more – to be approved by both Congress and the president.

Collins had this to say in a statement about the bill:

The REINS Act is one of the first bills of this Congress to target the regulatory abuses of the executive branch. For too long, executive overreach has fostered burdensome regulations that hamper growth at the expense of hardworking Americans. It’s time Congress reasserts its Constitutional authority to legislate, rather than letting unelected bureaucrats institute rules that impact the economy to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars.

Collins also noted that the bill is not retroactive, so it would only apply to regulations put forth by federal agencies going forward. He estimated it would add 50-100 votes to the Congressional calendar each year, something he described as “not unwieldy” from a legislative management standpoint.

President elect Donald Trump has come out in favor of the REINS Act in the past and would presumably sign it into law if it were to pass both the House and the Senate.

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Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of He has over 20 years of combined experience in media and government services, having worked at two government contracting firms and an online news and web development company prior to his current role at FedSmith.