Monday, January 9, 2017

CONYERS Statement In Opposition To REINS Act

Washington, DC – House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) submitted the following statement for the Congressional Record in opposition to the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act of 2017 (REINS Act):

Dean of the U.S. House
'of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.
Mr. Chair, H.R. 26, the “Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act of 2017,” otherwise known as the REINS Act, would amend the Congressional Review Act to require that both Houses of Congress pass and the President sign a joint resolution of approval within 70 legislative days before any major rule issued by an agency can take effect.

Simply put, H.R. 26 would impose unworkable deadlines for the enactment of a major rule under procedures that could charitably be referred to as convoluted.

Under this bill, the House may only consider a resolution for a major rule on the second and fourth Thursday of each month.  Keep in mind that typically 80 major rules are promulgated annually.  Yet, there may be as little as just 15 days available to consider such measures based on the Majority’s legislative calendar for the current year. 

Furthermore, Congress may only consider such resolutions within 70 legislative days of receiving a major rule. This process would constructively end rulemaking as we know it.
Now, Mr. Chair, the reason why my friends on the other side of the aisle say we need this kind of gumming-the-works legislation -- is because they claim regulations stifle economic growth.
For example, they point to the outgoing Administration and say that regulations promulgated during its tenure have hurt our Nation’s economy.
What they fail to tell the American people is that it was the Republican George Bush Administration’s economic policies that caused the Great Recession.
Without question, it was the lack of regulatory controls that facilitated rampant predatory lending, which nearly destroyed our Nation’s economy.
It led to millions of home foreclosures and devastated neighborhoods across America.  In fact, it nearly caused a global economic meltdown. 
Nevertheless, as a consequence of strong regulatory policies implemented by President Obama through such measures as the Dodd-Frank Act, our Nation has recovered to a point where the unemployment has been cut nearly in half to less than 5%.
Yet, the REINS Act would reverse these gains by empowering Congress to control and override the rulemaking process, even in the absence of any substantive expertise.

More than 80 of the Nation's leading professors on environmental and administrative law have warned in connection with substantively identical legislation considered in the last Congress, that without this expertise, any congressional disapproval is more likely to reflect the political power of special interests.
Lastly, by upending the process for agency rulemaking so that Congress can simply void major rules through inaction, the REINS Act likely violates the presentment and bicameralism requirements of article I of the Constitution.
As a leading expert on administrative law states:  “The reality is that the act is intended to enable a single House of Congress to control the implementation of the laws through the rulemaking process. Such a scheme transgresses the very idea of separation of powers, under which the Constitution entrusts the writing of the laws to the legislative branch and the implementation of the laws to the executive branch.''
The REINS Act will further encourage corporate giants to hold our country hostage through a deregulatory, profits-first agenda and facilitate a political influence process rivaling the destructive industrial monopolies from the past century.
In sum, H.R. 26, like the “Midnight Rules Relief Act” we considered yesterday on the House floor, is yet another blatant gift to big business to weaken the critical regulatory protections that ensure the safety of the air we breathe, the cars we drive, the toys we give our children, and the food we eat. 
Accordingly, I strongly urge my colleagues to oppose this ill-conceived bill and I reserve the balance of my time.


Mr. Chair, we need real solutions for real problems. 
In stark contrast, however, the REINS Act attempts to address a non-existent problem with a very dangerous solution. 
We need legislation that creates middle class financial security and opportunity.
We need sensible regulations that protect American families from economic ruin and that bring predatory financial practices to an end.
We need workplace safety regulations that ensure hardworking Americans who go to work each day are protected from hazardous work environments.
We need strong regulations that protect the safety of the food we eat, the air we breathe, and the water we drink. 
Unfortunately, H.R. 26 does nothing to advance those critical goals. 

This explains why more than 150 organizations strongly oppose this legislation, including:
·         Americans for Financial Reform
·         The American Lung Association
·         Consumers Union
·         The Humane Society of the United States
·         The League of Conservation Voters
·         Public Citizen
·         The American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees
·         Earthjustice
·         The Coalition for Sensible Safeguards
·         The American Public Health Association
·         The Environmental Defense Action Fund
·         The Center for American Progress, and
The Trust for America’s Health.

I therefor urge my colleagues to oppose H.R. 26 and I yield back the balance of my time.

Voting is beautiful, be beautiful ~ vote.©

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