Not even two full weeks into the new year, and Congress is already going for the throat. Figuratively and maybe even literally on down the road.
Republicans on Wednesday passed a bill in the House of Representatives that touched on nearly every step U.S. agencies take in creating and applying new rules, continuing their blitz to radically reform “abusive” federal regulation of areas from the environment to the workplace.
In a 238-183 vote, the House passed the “Regulatory Accountability Act,” which combined eight bills aimed at changing how the vast government bureaucracy runs. Only five Democrats voted for it.
The legislation would give President-elect Donald Trump tools “to wipe out abusive regulation,” said Bob Goodlatte, the Judiciary Committee chairman who is among the many House leaders calling for lighter regulation and saying the costs to comply with federal rules are too high.
Republicans say there is little accountability for regulations that apply to almost every aspect of American life because they are created by appointed officials and not elected representatives. Federal agencies operate either independently or under the president’s authority.
The crux of their argument, based on that last paragraph above is that there is no accountability for regulations because they’re not created by elected representatives. If we don’t have enough with the incoming Ego-In-Chief already, now Congressional Republicans feel that things are not kosher unless they write it. This is the same dysfunctional Congress that probably couldn’t pass legislation to get themselves out of a burning building. There’s one major flaw in their thinking however.
The Constitution is filled with checks and balances along with separation of powers. The power to legislate is delegated to Congress, and they’ve been quite adamant about that power with the numerous lawsuits filed against President Obama over his two terms. That same Constitution also delegates the power to enforce laws to the Executive Branch, the very same branch filled with those appointed officials who are currently responsible for writing out those regulations.
You see, Republicans gripe about regulations to the point where most people don’t have a clue as to what a regulation is. All we hear is how they cost businesses so much and they’re overburdensome. We never hear Republicans actually explain how regulations come about and what their purposes are. For those who don’t already know, here’s a quick rundown. My apologies to those who already know this.
Legislation begins in Congress as bills. The bills get voted on by both houses of Congress. If they pass both houses, those bills then go to the president to either be signed or vetoed. If the president signs the bill, then it becomes law. The laws that are passed and signed are then codified and placed into the U.S. Code. According to the definition at Wikipedia, “The Code of Laws of the United States of America (variously abbreviated to Code of Laws of the United States, United States Code, U.S. Code, or U.S.C.) is the official compilation and codification of the general and permanent federal statutes of the United States.” The U.S. Code currently consists of 52 titles, and each title is broken down by subject matter.
Now, once that statute is published, the agency(s) responsible for enforcing that law have to come up with a set of rules to enforce the law that Congress passed and the president signed. Take a wild guess at what those rules are called? They’re called regulations. Those regulations, once approved, end up in the Code of Federal Regulations which is often abbreviated as CFR. The CFR is contained in 50 titles, and just like the U.S. Code, those titles are broken down by subject matter.
I don’t know of a single person who has read the entire U.S. Code or CFR, so there may indeed be unnecessary entries in both compilations. That said, I don’t think a Congress that has sued the outgoing president for overreach has a leg to stand on when trying to claim they should have more say in regulations. If you’re that concerned about the costs of regulations, then pay more attention to the legislation that you write. Instead of allowing ALEC or other outside groups or lobbyists write legislation, go back to doing your own job that you get paid $174,000 a year to do. It’s not like Congress has passed much legislation in recent years anyway, so there’s not a whole lot of writing to be done.
I don’t see any good intentions behind this. If Republicans want to deregulate everything, then write legislation to rescind the laws in place and get your president to sign it. If there’s no law on the books, then the agency(s) don’t need regulations to enforce them. It’s a win-win situation for Republicans. I seriously doubt they’ll go that route because that would actually shine the light on what the ultimate goal appears to be, which is to make things easier for their financial backers to make more money. That’s always the prevailing argument about how businesses are hampered by regulations, so it would make sense that the goal is to get businesses to making more money.
Quit lying to people and just be honest about what your intentions are. We’ve already seen that many in the voting public don’t give a rat’s ass about what politicians do. A party has campaigned for years on ending the ACA, and people who voted them into office are now acting surprised that they’re ending the ACA. Words don’t describe the abject despair I feel when I read story after story about this. Part of me wants to call people stupid, but I honestly think people are more swayed by personality than what the people are actually saying. Trump proved that by winning this election after all he’s said.
This year is only beginning, and it’s Year One of our four year journey through Trumpland. I hope things such as this doesn’t put us back to having flammable rivers and air you can slice with a knife. I still refuse to be the crier of doom, but the blocks appear to be falling into place for some of the more frightening predictions to have a chance of coming to pass. God help us all.