A bill which would have give Congress control of the federal regulatory process is meeting with strong opposition from dozens of labor, environmental, consumer advocacy, health care and other groups, according to OMB Watch, a nonprofit research and advocacy organization.
TheREINS bill (or, Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny) introduced by Rep. Geoff Davis (R-KY) would require congressional approval for any new federal regulations before it can be enforced.
A letter sent by a coalition to the House Judiciary Committee asking its members to vote against the bill says it would jeopardize crucial protections and politicize decisions about health and welfare.
"H.R. 10 would also give special interests another opportunity to undermine public protections," the groups wrote. "Special interest lobbyists already affect rules at the agency level, but their channels of access and influence are even more well-worn in Congress."
OMB Watch lists 72 organizations representing a broad range of interests that have signed the letter, including: the Gray Panthers, the Sierra Club, Families USA, the National Women’s Health Network, the AFL-CIO, Science in the Public Interest, the American Lung Association, Breast Cancer Action, Earth Day Network, the Association of Flight Attendants, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the Natural Resources Defense Council and The Wilderness Society.
Davis says his bill would reverse what he calls a “disturbing trend” of allowing bureaucrats in executive branch agencies to effectively create legislation.
“With the newly enacted health care and financial bills delegating hundreds of new rulemaking opportunities to the executive branch, the REINS Act will ensure that Congress retains ultimate control and accountability for the content of the laws facing the American people,” he said.
OMB Watch predicts that Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH), a supporter of the bill, will make it a priority in the coming weeks. The Judiciary Committee has already held one hearing on it. The bill has also been introduced in the Senate by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY).