REINS (Regulations from the Executive In Need of Scrutiny) Act. Sound pretty impressive, eh? LV Congressman Charlie Dent voted for it. In fact, so did every other Republican in Congress. All but four Democrats voted against it. It's dead on arrival in the Senate.
Dent explains that his vote in favor of REINS, which gives Congress more oversight, would both promote economic recovery and create more transparency. “President Obama has asserted over-regulation 'stifles innovation' and has a 'chilling effect on growth and jobs', yet federal agencies under his control continue to propose and advance major regulations that hinder our economic recovery,” said Dent. “Requiring Congressional approval of the most significant proposals will enhance the transparency of the entire federal rulemaking process and help strengthen the voice of the American people in the development of regulations that affect their daily lives.”
Congressional oversight would kick in for any major regulation, i.e. one estimated to have an annual economic impact of $100 million or more, or that results in a substantial increase in costs or prices for American consumers and producers, as well as federal, state and local government agencies. The bill establishes a 70 day window for Congress and the President to approve a rule through the passage of a joint resolution.
According to a Dent news release, there were 95 final major regulations in 2008, 84 in 2009, and 100 in 2010.
I can buy the transparency argument made by Dent. But I wonder whether these regulations are killing as many jobs as claimed. I understand the distrust of big government by fiscal conservatives. But New York Times columnist David Brooks, who is certainly no liberal, questions the validity of the GOP charge that Obama's is a "virulently antibusiness administration that spews out a steady flow of job- and economy-crushing regulations." He points out that only 13% of small businesses cite over-regulation as the reason why they lay off workers. Also, the most regulated of all industries - energy and health care - are the ones doing the most hiring.
So this Bill might lead to greater transparency, if it ever passed in the Senate, which it won't. But will it really help create more jobs? Especially when you know it's dead in the Senate? Is it all about talking points?
We have a serious problem. Both the GOP and the Democrats need to be working together, but they seem more divided than ever, and more interested in blaming each other than actually getting something done. Now I can see that some regulations might be stifling, but don't others also save lives?
Instead of reining in regulations, Democrats and Republicans in Congress need to rein in each other. Then we might start producing real jobs that will pass in both Houses.