This morning, the House Judiciary Committee is holding a markup on the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act of 2015, or REINS Act (H.R. 427). Even among the many extreme antiregulatory bills that Congress has considered this session, the REINS Act still stands out for its breathtaking audacity. If enacted, this bill would block the most important environmental, safety, and public health regulations from taking effect unless Congress affirmatively approves them within the extraordinarily short period of 70 session days or legislative days. It is not a stretch to say that many regulations that are now benefitting millions of Americans—such as those limiting lead in gasoline or requiring air bags in automobiles—would never have seen the light of day had the REINS Act been in place. Versions of this bill have been introduced in both chambers of Congress over the last several sessions, but fortunately none have been enacted into law.
In response to this bill, 83 of the nation’s leading experts on administrative law and regulatory policy have signed on to a letter to the members of Congress expressing their concerns with the REINS Act. Among the concerns described in the letter are that “the REINS Act would replace the strengths of agency rulemaking with the weaknesses of the legislative process” and that the bill is “counter-democratic.” Twenty-six CPR Member Scholars were among the experts to sign on to the letter.
CPR’s Member Scholars have been working for several years now to educate the public, policymakers, and the media about the potential harmful consequences of the REINS Act. CPR Member Scholar Sidney Shapiro has written this memo. And CPR Member Scholar Noah Sachs published this commentary in The New Republic.
When the members of the House Judiciary Committee consider the REINS Act, let’s hope they heed the sound warnings contained in each of these materials.