Within the last hour, the House of Representatives approved the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act – the REINS Act. The bill was among House Republicans’ top priorities for the year, and they’ve made it and a series of other anti-regulatory bills a centerpiece of their agenda.
The plain purpose of the REINS Act is to make it all but impossible for the nation’s regulatory agencies to adopt regulations that would enforce a host of protective laws, including the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Occupational Safety and Health Act, and many others. The Act would permit Congress (in fact, just one House of Congress) to ignore these legislative mandates in deciding whether to approve regulations, opening the door for much greater politicization of the regulatory process. House Republicans have pursued it in part to prop up their disingenuous argument that regulation is somehow the cause of the nation’s economic difficulties, and in part as a reward to high-dollar donors who’d just as soon go on polluting for profit, cutting corners on workplace safety, and in a variety of other ways subjecting Americans to preventable deaths and illnesses.