Year after year, the various agencies of the Executive Branch hand down thousands of rules and regulations, many of which create undue burdens on businesses and hinder job creation. In particular, over the past several years, the Obama Administration has aggressively and unilaterally expanded the reach of the federal government by way of regulatory fiat.
To revive our slow-growth, sluggish economy, one of the top priorities of Congress should be to reduce the burdens on the private sector. Businesses – particularly small businesses – are the engine of our nation's economy, and their success is the key to getting Americans back to work. However, in order for businesses to thrive, government must get out of the way. This means reducing regulatory burdens, keeping taxes low and allowing markets to operate without manipulation.
In order to provide greater oversight of these increasingly overzealous federal bureaucrats, on January 21, 2015, I introduced S. 226, the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act. This legislation would require both chambers of Congress to affirmatively approve every new federal rule or regulation with an annual economic impact of $100 million or more before it can be enforced on the American people. This will help to ensure that any new major federal mandates and rules are necessary to the public interest and do not simply serve to advance the agendas of unelected bureaucrats in Washington.
While S. 226 is awaiting consideration by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, a companion version of the REINS Act (H.R. 427) was passed by the House of Representatives on July 28, 2015. I am encouraged by this show of support for the REINS Act by the House, and I remain committed to bringing the REINS Act to a vote in the Senate.
After meeting with several individuals who fell victim to government bullies, I felt compelled to hold a hearing and allow these citizens to share with other Members of Congress the misfortune they experienced at the hands of their own government. In attendance were 10 witnesses who provided powerful testimonies of regulatory abuse and a dozen Members of Congress who delivered questions and comments.
As a result of that hearing, I introduced two bills, the Freedom from Over-Criminalization and Unjust Seizures Act, and the Defense of Environment and Property Act. Both bills attempt to put reasonable limitations on a government that seeks to target well-intentioned businesses with overly burdensome regulations.
Counteracting excessive government regulations has become a centerpiece of my tenure here in Washington. All my actions seek to find a balance between environmental, safety and health protection, without compromising the ability of family businesses to flourish. If Congress is to impose laws and regulations on U.S. citizens, it is important that this process be as transparent as possible. Cutting red tape and opening the regulatory process to scrutiny is a crucial step in enabling Americans to hold their government accountable.