Washington, D.C. – House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA-23) spoke on the House floor today in favor of H.R. 5, the Regulatory Accountability Act, which is the third piece of legislation in the House’s work to fundamentally change the structure of Washington so it serves the people.
Full remarks are below, or watch online here.
“I thank the gentleman for yielding, and I think the chairman for his work. I’d also like to highlight a few members whose work is inside this bill: first, Congressman Marino (PA-10), Congressman Ratcliffe (TX-04), Chairman Chabot (OH-01), and Congressman Luetkemeyer (MO-03). They’ve all done a tremendous amount of work to make this bill here today, and I appreciate that.
“Mr. Speaker, we have a grave problem in our federal government. It undermines our Constitution. It contradicts the will of the people. And it is a deadweight on our economy, destroying American jobs and costing billions of dollars per year in paperwork and lost opportunities.
“I’m talking about the duplicative and unforgiving federal bureaucratic state.
“But before I discuss the dangers that an overzealous bureaucracy poses to our country, I want to be clear that the House has already made great progress. We are engaged in a two-step approach: first, to change the structure of Washington that deprives the people of their power; second, to repeal specific harmful regulations. We’ll get started on that second part early next month. We’ve already passed two bills last week to change Washington’s structure—the Midnight Rules Act and the REINS Act. Today, we pass the third, the Regulatory Accountability Act.
“This requires agencies to choose the least costly option available to do what they are charged to do, and prohibits large rules from going into effect while they are still being challenged in court. But it also ends something called Chevron deference where courts automatically bend to the agency’s interpretation of the rules. Under the current standard, that means the agency will win almost every single time in the courtroom—and the people lose.
“These three bills are about more than stopping bad regulations from being made. They’re about changing the process in Washington that systematically prioritizes government over the common good instead of making government serve the common good.
“Mr. Speaker, our nation is based on a principle that power ultimately comes from the people. Elections are the great foundation of our republic, and as we saw so clearly this last November, through them the people can make their voices heard. But something has changed. Some of the most significant decisions in Washington—those that most affect the lives of the public—are made by those who don’t stand for election.
“What happens when the EPA imposes rules that deprive people of their property rights? Or when the Department of Health and Human Services tries to force nuns to violate their religion? Or when the VA perpetuates a system that lets veterans die while they wait for care? The people can’t vote out the bureaucrats who write rules at the EPA or at the Department of Health and Human Services. They can’t vote out bad leaders of the VA.
“And these bureaucrats know it. They know they aren’t accountable to the people even as they exercise great power. And without elections, the people lose.
“Washington is brimming with executive employees devoted to preserving the status quo. Then there’s a revolving door of high-level federal employees who head to major consulting firms and lobbying arms to influence the very agencies they came from. This breeds thousands of regulations that further enrich the connected and powerful, sometimes at the great expense of the average American.
“And it’s our economy and the American worker that suffer the most. Federal regulations written and enacted by these bureaucracies impose a burden of about $1.89 trillion every year. That number is hard sense or even imagine. It comes to roughly $15 thousand per U.S. household, or 10% of the American GDP. The Obama Administration alone has written regulations that require over 583 million hours to comply with. That’s an average of nearly 5 hours of paperwork for every single full-time employee in America. The Federal Register is now the length of 80 King James Bibles.
“When bureaucracies and bureaucrats and agency heads cannot be held accountable and they keep their jobs regardless of corruption, incompetence, waste, fraud, abuse, or the backroom deals they make with special interests, that’s the problem. That’s the swamp. And we need to drain it.
“There’s a reason why the House is restructuring Washington first. It’s because we made a commitment to the American people that we would drain the swamp. Now, we are today.
“I yield back.”