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Congress Republicans seek to curb US regulators

09 January 2017

On January 5, Republican lawmakers pressed ahead with plans to limit the ability of US regulatory agencies to introduce new regulations. The Republican dominated House of Representatives voted 237 to 187 to pass the REINS Act, which will require Congressional approval for major new regulations on the environment, industry, education and a number of other sectors.

President-elect Donald Trump has said he will roll back regulation - Image Shutterstock
President-elect Donald Trump has said he will roll back regulation - Image Shutterstock

The REINS (Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny) Act would require Congress to vote on all “major” regulations with an annual economic impact of at least $100 million. It also would allow legislators to take more day-to-day control over the rules that executive branch agencies make as they implement the regulations that Congress passes into law.

"Excessive regulation means higher prices, lower wages, fewer jobs, less economic growth and a less competitive America," House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte said before the vote, echoing the anti-regulation sentiment popular in his party.

President-elect Donald Trump has also promised to roll back regulation, saying it would boost economic growth.

The Judiciary Committee's senior Democrat, John Conyers said the REINS Act would impose unworkable deadlines and introduce convoluted procedures to "end rulemaking as we know it."

The legislation would allow Congress to bundle together a variety of rules introduced by the Obama administration since May 2016 and strike them down in a single vote, rather than on a one-by-one basis as stipulated under current legislation. These rules cover energy, the environment, transportation, finance, education and communications.

Democrats, however, say they will block the bill and other anti-regulation legislation through Senate filibusters, starting a protracted fight with the incoming administration and Republican lawmakers over the regulatory sector.

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