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Cresent H.
Republican NV 4

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  • Regulatory Gridlock

    by Representative Cresent Hardy

    Posted on 2016-01-08

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    HARDY. I thank the gentleman from Texas for yielding.

    Mr. Speaker, this is our first week back in session after spending the holidays in our districts. While we were meeting with our constituents and enjoying the company of loved ones, the Federal bureaucracy was firing on all cylinders, cranking out thousands of pages of regulations.

    Mr. Speaker, I hold in my hand what our regulators were doing on Christmas Eve. In my other hand I am holding 298 pages of what our Federal regulators were doing on New Year's Eve.

    This breakneck pace of activity, deep within the bowels of our executive branch, capped off a record year for the Federal Register, the official record of the government's regulatory and other actions.

    The grand total for 2015 was 82,035 pages of regulations. This leaves the current administration with an annual [[Page H216]] page count of nearly 80,000 per year and puts it on pace to contribute more pages of regulations to the Federal Register than any other administration in American history.

    Mr. Speaker, this is a perversion of our Founding Fathers' intent and a disservice to the American people.

    Article I, section 1, of the Constitution vests all legislative power in a Congress of the United States, not with regulatory agencies.

    Article I, section 8, of the Constitution vests all the power to make all laws in Congress to the United States, not with regulatory agencies.

    Article II, section 3, of the Constitution clearly states that the President shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed. That means executive agencies execute the laws as Congress intended, not that they make their own.

    Mr. Speaker, there is no ambiguity. Federal laws get made right here on this floor and in the other Chamber across the rotunda and nowhere else. But over the past 228 years, the founding principles have been manipulated.

    With this massive expansion of the Federal Government's role during the New Deal, agencies were awarded rulemaking authority through acts of Congress. This statutory authority was granted to allow our Federal agencies to better implement the law in a growing, complex Nation. But it was not a blank check.

    Unfortunately, far too many here in Congress have been complicit in delegating our sacred lawmaking authority to legions of unelected bureaucrats. How can this be? We are the first branch of government, the branch that is closest to the people. We are directly accountable to our constituents. It is because of that accountability that we must reclaim that constitutional duty to make all laws.

    That is why I am a proud original cosponsor of the REINS Act of 2015 and why I voted to pass that important bill last year. The REINS Act takes the important step of requiring congressional approval of all major rules. This is a huge improvement over the current status quo under the Congressional Review Act.

    The default standard for all major rules should be rejection unless they are congressionally approved, not acceptance until rejection.

    The Congressional Review Act is a failed attempt to reclaim our exclusive legislating authority. Rejecting one single rule on ergonomic chairs in 20 years is simply unacceptable. We need laws with more teeth.

    The bills we passed this week, including the SCRUB Act of 2015, will help in this effort.

    Mr. Speaker, something needs to change. Churning out thousands of final rules on tens of thousands of Federal Register pages each and every year is hamstringing our economy and crushing our businesses.

    {time} 1345 According to a study done by the National Association of Manufacturers, complying with the Federal regulations costs Americans $2.028 trillion in lost economic growth each and every year. That is 12 percent of our GDP down the drain.

    As a former small-business owner, I can tell you that mom-and-pop shops aren't poring over each and every issue of the Federal Register, and they sure aren't doing it on Christmas Eve. Unlike large corporations that can afford armies of attorneys to navigate the complex Federal bureaucracy, small businesses are left hanging out to dry.

    As the people's House, we are advocates for the people we represent. We serve them. We are accountable to them. We owe it to the people to go on record and vote on major rules that impact their daily lives.

    I challenge any President or elected official to say that the American people don't deserve the right to hold their government accountable.

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