“All businesses face regulatory burdens, yet currently there is no check for Congress to reign in these rules and regulations that Executive agencies, led by unelected bureaucrats, put into place. The Sunset Act requires Congressional approval for all new rules and would incrementally sunset all existing regulations, requiring Congress to revisit them every ten years.”
- Congressman Steve King on HR 6333, The Sunset Act.
Vote it up, or vote it down. It’s a simple concept that we in South Dakota have had for many years. When state agencies pass rules, these measures instituted must pass in front of a legislative rules review committee for the approval of a body appointed by the legislature for that purpose.
But at the federal level – there is no such requirement. While they call the process “rulemaking,” the regulatory agencies create and enforce “rules” that are truly laws, with the potential to significantly affect the liberty and livelihoods of millions of Americans. Agencies such as the EPA, OSHA and several dozen others are regulatory agencies, because they have the ability to create and enforce regulations (i.e., rules) that carry the full force of a law. Individuals, businesses, and private and public organizations can be fined, sanctioned, forced to close, and even jailed for violating federal regulations.
Some regulations require only publication and an opportunity for comments to become effective. Others require publication and one or more formal public hearings. But unless congress specifically takes legislative action to countermand these regulatory measures, these rules become the law of the land. And they do so in ever increasing numbers.
The legislative process holds elected officials accountable to an electorate. The bureaucratic process is a nearly impenetrable barrier, almost solely accessible by lobbyists, attorneys, and special interest groups. Hearings in the field are a rarity, and much of the testimony is taken in the form of written comments. How much weight do we think is given to written commentary in the face of a bureaucratic agency committed to putting a measure in place?
Elected officials are held to a much stronger accountability, and at the end of the day, they have to explain their actions to their employer, the people. If they had to explain why they allowed dust or bovine gas emissions to be considered pollutants, we’d never see such silliness uttered.
Congressman Steve King has proposed a measure which places direct accountability for the rules process upon Congress itself. This legislation requires congressional oversight of the rules process, and puts into place a sunset clause ensuring that all rules will be revisited over the course of the next decade, with the potential of many being eliminated because they simply make no sense.
Congressman King’s measure is finally, a footstep along the correct path our nation should be taking. I strongly support his legislation, and I urge you to communicate your support for the measure to your representatives in Congress.