When our country was founded, Thomas Jefferson declared that governments should only derive their power from the “consent of the governed.” Four score and seven years later, at Gettysburg, President Abraham Lincoln reminded us that ours was a government “of the people, by the people, for the people.” Last week, the House of Representatives paid worthy tribute to the legacy of our Founding Fathers. We have renewed our commitment to putting people before politics.
Last week (July 22-26), House Republicans took legislative action to curb an out-of-control, overreaching federal government. No matter where I go or whom I talk to, everyone in Eastern Washington and across America tells me the same thing: that the federal government is making their lives harder.
Federal regulations have had an enormous impact on families, small businesses, and the state of the economy in Eastern Washington. Yet many do not understand the costs they impose on our daily lives. Costly regulations affect the price we pay for groceries, the cars we drive, and the appliances we use in our homes.
In fact, 2012 was the costliest year on record for federal regulations with White House figures pegging the amount at $19 billion, double the regulatory costs of the next most expensive year. Already this year, the federal government has published $61 billion in compliance costs and $84.9 million annual paperwork burden hours.
Through the years Congress has delegated an excessive amount of lawmaking authority to federal agencies. This has created a lack of accountability, allowing agencies to issue rules that are too costly, complex, and ineffective. This has to stop.
As Americans continue to recover from the recent economic downturn, instead of increasing burdens on families and businesses, the federal government should support small businesses and industries in their efforts to expand and create jobs without the burden of red tape.
Last week, the House approved the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act of 2013 (REINS Act). The REINS Act would require Congress to hold an up-or-down vote on any major regulation with an annual impact of more than $100 million. In addition, to promote greater accountability, the president would also have to sign the regulation before it could be enforced on the American people, employers, or state and local governments. The REINS Act would restore congressional accountability by requiring Congress and the President to approve major rules before they can be enforced against the American people.
In an era of high unemployment and record spending, Congress can no longer allow the unaccountable growth of the regulatory state. The REINS Act would help restore a responsible government, uphold the legacy of America’s great founders, and make the lives of everyday Americans better.
Cathy McMorris Rodgers is a congressional representative from the 5th District, which includes Eastern Washington.