Sep 15, 2014

Breaking the Bonds that Tie Our Economy Down

America has one of the largest regulatory burdens in the world. The current federal register contains over 80,000 pages of new rules and regulations that are all written by unelected bureaucrats. So many of these rules distort the private economy and funnel resources away from job creation and investment while the U.S. is still suffering through its worst recovery since World War II.

To grow our economy we need to cut away the regulations tying it down. That will give American workers and business owners more time and money to spend improving their own lives rather than complying with a massive and onerous codebook.

Yet the greatest problem in America’s regulatory regime is that these laws are made, interpreted, and enforced by one, singular body. Our founders knew that separating government’s powers into three distinct bodies was our best protection against tyranny. But in the bureaucratic state it is no longer the legislature that makes laws, the courts that interpret laws, when necessary, and the executive branch that enforces laws. Unelected bureaucrats who are not accountable to the people hold all those powers. They have the highest levels of job protection, they are not up for election, and, unlike your Congressman, they can’t be called, written to, or approached at a town hall meeting or local event.

In the House’s economic growth and jobs package that will be passed this week, we have three bills that will scale back the bureaucracy and help create a government that is limited, honest, and competent:

  • H.R. 899, the Unfunded Mandates information and Transparency Act: This bill sponsored by Representative Virginia Foxx (NC-05) equips Congress and the public with the tools to determine the true costs of regulations by requiring greater clarity on the costs of regulations and allowing those affected by rules to have their voices heard.
  • H.R. 2804, the Achieving Less Excess in Regulation and Requiring Transparency (ALERRT) Act: The authors of this bill—Representatives George Holding (NC-13), Doug Collins (GA-09), Spencer Bachus (AL-06), and Chairman Bob Goodlatte (VA-06)—are making sure the federal bureaucracy becomes transparent and accountable by requiring bureaucrats to provide more timely and detailed information on regulations and ensure that they attempt the least costly method of implementing the law.
  • H.R. 367, the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act: Representative Todd Young’s (IN-09) REINS Act restores a proper checks and balances by mandating that Congress vote on any regulation that has an annual economic impact of $100 million or more.
  • H.R. 3086, the Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act: Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee Bob Goodlatte (VA-06) authored this bill to protect Internet access for all Americans and foster growth in the digital economy.

Each of these bills passed with bipartisan support and, altogether, Democrats cast over 850 votes for the bills in the House’s energy and jobs and economy packages. Washington’s bureaucracy is outdated, inefficient, and unaccountable. These House reforms are obvious fixes to the country’s regulatory problems and will help bring our government into the 21st century.