June 09, 2011

Manchin Supports Commonsense Law Reining In EPA and Federal Bureaucrats

REINS Act would help protect jobs by requiring Congressional approval for all major regulations

Washington, D.C. -- U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) announced today that he is cosponsoring the Regulations From the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act of 2011 – also known as the REINS Act – which would require Congressional approval of any interim or final regulation from the Executive Branch bureaucracy that costs more than $100 million. Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky) introduced the bill. 

“The announcement by American Electric Power that it will shut down three plants in West Virginia and lay off 242 workers because of onerous regulations proves once again that our urgent mission to rein in the EPA and other bureaucratic agencies is a critical priority. As I have long said: Elected officials should be the people who are responsible for making major decisions that affect our economy, not bureaucrats who are unaccountable to any constituents and have never created jobs.

“As my experience as Governor proved, rule-making review ensures balance and protects against bad regulations that needlessly destroy jobs and strangle innovation and economic growth," Senator Manchin said. “The REINS Act is a commonsense measure that will help protect and create jobs by reining in needless or burdensome regulations, and will put responsibility back where it belongs – in the hands of the people who are elected to govern and lead this great nation.”


Senator Manchin has long worked to rein in bureaucrats, particularly with his first piece of legislation: the EPA Fair Play Act, which would prevent bureaucratic agencies from retroactively vetoing permits. 

For decades, the State of West Virginia has required approval from the state legislature and Governor before any rule is enacted. 

Similarly, the REINS Act would require affirmative Congressional approval for any regulation that has resulted in or is likely to result in: “an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more; a major increase in costs or prices, or significant adverse effects on competition, employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or U.S. competitiveness.” 

Currently, major rules take effect unless Congress passes – and the President signs – legislation disapproving them. 

Under the REINS Act, legislation approving a major rule would have to be introduced within three session days of the rule being submitted to Congress. If the legislation approving the rule is not enacted by the end of 70 session days after the agency submits its report, the rule will not to be approved and will not take effect. 

The REINS Act permits a major rule to take effect for 90 calendar days without Congressional approval if the President determines the rule is necessary because of an imminent threat to health or safety or other emergency, for the enforcement of criminal laws, for national security, or to implement an international trade agreement.

During calendar year 2010, federal agencies published 100 major final rules. The entities that issued the largest number of major rules from 2004 through 2010 were the Departments of Health and Human Services, Agriculture, Interior, and the Environmental Protection Agency.