REINS Act Passes U.S. House of Representatives

If the bill becomes law, major rules from OSHA, EPA, and other federal departments could not take effect without explicit congressional approval.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 10, the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act, by a vote of 241-184 on Dec. 7, prompting its chief sponsor, Rep. Geoff Davis, R-Ky., to thank its supporters, including 204 House co-sponsors. Nineteen of the co-sponsors are Republican members of the House Education & the Workforce Committee, the oversight committee for OSHA; there are no Democratic members of the committee among the co-sponsors.

The bill would stop any major rule proposed by a federal department, such as OSHA, MSHA, or EPA –- "major rule" is defined as one having an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more, a major increase in costs or prices, or significant adverse effects on competition, employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or U.S. competitiveness –- from taking effect unless Congress approves a joint resolution of approval. An emergency rule could take effect for 90 days without a resolution if the president determines it is necessary because of an imminent threat to health or safety.

Davis, who represents a district in northern Kentucky, posted a statement on his official website saying, "The point of the REINS Act is accountability. Each member of Congress must take a stand and be accountable for regulations that will have the greatest impact on our economy. Regulatory compliance costs small businesses an estimated $10,500 per employee annually. At a time of high unemployment, we must do something about this massive burden. No longer would Congress be able to avoid accountability by writing vague laws requiring the benefits up front and leaving the unpopular or costly elements up to the bureaucrats who will write those elements of the law at some later date.

"I want to thank all of the supporters of the REINS Act, especially Speaker Boehner, Chairman Smith, Senator Paul, and the over 200 co-sponsors for their tireless efforts to advance this commonsense legislation."

He said U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky has introduced a companion bill in the Senate, S. 299, which has 31 co-sponsors. More than 30 organizations have endorsed the REINS Act, according to the list posted on Davis' website.

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