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Senator Rand Paul, 24 senators introduce REIN Act to curtail federal spending

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Bethany Blankley | The Center Square

(The Center Square) – U.S. Senator Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, introduced a bill that would require any new regulation proposed by an executive branch department or agency to be approved by Congress if it is projected to cost $100 million or more to implement.

The bill, “Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act of 2021” (REIN), with 24 Republican cosponsors, was introduced after President Joe Biden on his first day in office signed an executive order to repeal deregulation efforts implemented by the previous administration.

“For too long, an ever-growing federal bureaucracy has piled regulations and red tape on the backs of the American people without any approval by Americans’ elected representatives,” Paul said in a statement. “By making Congress more accountable for the most costly and intrusive federal rules, the REINS Act would give Kentuckians and citizens throughout the country a greater voice in determining whether these major rules are in America’s best interests.”

Every year, Paul releases a report on government waste and abuse. In his 2020 “Festivus” Report, he detailed more than $54 billion worth of federal spending that he says wasted taxpayer money.

Under former President Donald Trump, a rule change was made to reduce the federal regulatory burden on taxpayers. For every new regulation federal officials introduced they were required to repeal two. In the first two years of implementation, the administration achieved $33 billion in net regulatory savings since taking office, according to Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.

The Heritage Foundation estimated the rule change saving taxpayers billions of dollars was one of the most extensive deregulation efforts since the 1980s.

Former U.S. Representative and now Senator, Todd Young, of Indiana, a cosponsor of the bill, previously introduced a bill eight years ago in the House to reduce federal regulatory burdens.

The bill defines a “major” rule as one that the Office of Management and Budget determines may result in an economic impact of $100 million or greater each year; “a major increase in costs or prices” for American consumers, government agencies, regions, or industries; or “significant adverse effects” on the economy.

Under the REINS Act, once major rules are drafted, they must then be affirmatively approved by both chambers of Congress and then signed by the president, satisfying the bicameralism and presentment requirements of the Constitution, according to the proposal. Currently, regulations ultimately take effect unless Congress specifically disapproves.

“When agency rule makers bypass Congressional review, the agenda of unelected bureaucrats dominates over the interests of American businesses and workers," Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., said. "This legislation will ensure greater accountability for executive rulemaking at time when agencies are growing especially emboldened to flex their regulatory powers.”

Several Democratic senators, including Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, Tom Carper of Delaware and Joe Manchin of West Virginia, have supported previous efforts to streamline the federal regulatory and spending process.