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July 28, 2015

This week, the House will consider H.R. 427, the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act, or the REINS Act. The bill would increase accountability and transparency in the federal regulatory process.

Specifically, the REINS Act would require a joint resolution of approval from Congress for all major rules. According to GAO, a major rule is:

…one that has resulted in or is likely to result in (1) an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more; (2) a major increase in costs or prices for consumers, individual industries, federal, state, or local government agencies, or geographic regions; or (3) significant adverse effects on competition, employment, investment, productivity, or innovation, or on the ability of United States-based enterprises to compete with foreign-based enterprises in domestic and export markets.

Thus, the REINS Act would make America’s elected representatives more accountable for federal regulations. This is essential given this administration’s propensity for proposing major rules. According to The Heritage Foundation, the Obama Administration has issued 184 rules in six years, compared to 77 during the Bush Administration. This trend is likely to continue, as the current administration still has at least 126 other major rules in the pipe.

One of the most active rulemaking agencies, the Environmental Protection Agency, is set to finalize two of the most sweeping regulations in recent history. The EPA’s proposed ozone rule could be the costliest regulation ever, with the possibility of reducing US GDP $3.4 trillion by 2040. On top of this, the EPA’s carbon agenda could cost a staggering $366 billion while shuttering up to 90GW of reliable electricity (in conjunction with other EPA regulations sent to be implemented).

Both of these regulations will have a severe, adverse affect on the economy. Rules such as these should be subject to review by Congress, not left to the whim of unelected bureaucrats. The REINS Act would still allow agencies to perform their functions as delegated by Congress, but extends a necessary check on the rulemaking process. This is especially important as agencies like the EPA continue to issue more major regulations.

The American Energy Alliance urges Congress to support the REINS Act and will include it in our American Energy Scorecard. YES is the pro-taxpayer, pro-energy, and pro-accountability vote.