Federal Legislation
January 27, 2012

S. 299—Regulations From the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act of 2011 (REINS Act)

Action Requested:
The House version of this bill, H.R. 10, passed December 7, 2011 with a recorded vote of 241–184. HSLDA urges you to contact your U.S. senators and ask them to support S. 299. To find your senators’ contact information, please use HSLDA’s Legislative Toolbox.

Summary:
S. 299 will restrict the executive branch from issuing executive orders and federal regulations without approval from Congress.

Status:

7/20/2011 Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. Hearings held.

Sponsor: Senator Rand Paul (KY)

Bill Summary—S. 299

HSLDA’s Position:
Support

Talking Points:
S. 299 will “increase accountability for and transparency in the federal regulatory process.” With greater and greater increase in intrusive federal regulations, S. 299 will limit what the executive branch can enact into law by laying out a system in which government agencies must submit a report to Congress before publishing a regulation.

S.299 divides executive regulations into two categories, “major rules,” and “nonmajor rules.” A “major rule” is defined as a regulation with:

  • An “annual effect on the economy of $100,000,000 or more;”
  • A “major increase in costs or prices for consumers, individual industries, Federal, State, or local government agencies, or geographical regions; or”
  • That has “significant adverse effects on competition, employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or the ability of United States based enterprises to compete with foreign-based enterprises in domestic and export markets.”

If the regulation fits under a “major rule” definition then both houses of Congress must vote on it under a joint resolution before the federal government can implement it. If it is not a “major rule,” the government agency can enact its regulation after they submit a report to Congress.

In recent years, HSLDA has seen federal agencies sidestep Congress to create new laws. We feel this is a dangerous precedent, with no checks and balances in place on the creation of onerous regulations, and no limit to ever-increasing federal involvement in the individual lives of our citizens. S. 299 will ensure that the executive branch is limited in its regulation-making capacity, returning this branch of government to its original intent of implementing laws passed by Congress.