Needed reform: The REINS Act

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Guest Commentary

By Geoff Davis

Some utility companies in Kentucky announced in May that they would need to raise electricity rates by about 20 percent  over the next five years in order to pay for the upgrades necessary to meet stricter federal environmental regulations.

These new rules and the resulting increase in utility rates will make it more difficult for families to pay their bills, and will leave job creating businesses with less money to grow and hire new employees.

These rules were not passed by Congress; they were put in place by the Environmental Protection Agency.  This is a great example of why I have proposed the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act.  The REINS Act would require greater accountability by the people’s elected representatives for regulations that have a major impact on the American economy.

As the economy remains stalled, there is increased pressure on Members of Congress to do something about the increasing regulatory burdens on job creators.  Bipartisan support for the REINS Act has grown to 149 co-sponsors in the House and twenty-seven co-sponsors in the Senate. 

As Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia explained when announcing his support of the bill, “The REINS Act is a commonsense measure that will help protect and create jobs by reining in needless or burdensome regulations, and will put responsibility back where it belongs – in the hands of the people who are elected to govern and lead this great nation.” 

West Virginia lost more than two hundred jobs in June when American Electric Power announced the closure of three power plants because of new onerous federal regulations.  The REINS Act would require Congressional accountability for such rules, instead of huge faceless bureaucracies essentially dictating cost increases for consumers and job creators. 

During his testimony at a recent Senate hearing to review legislative proposals to address federal regulation, Senator Rand Paul [KY] pointed out that even if Members of Congress like a regulation or think it is necessary, we should still vote on rules that will have a substantial impact on our economy.  It is Congress’ constitutional responsibility to write the laws and we should not abdicate that responsibility to the Executive Branch.

As the REINS Act continues to get more attention and gain traction in Congress, I have launched a new REINS website (http://geoffdavis.house.gov/REINS) where you can learn more about the bill, track the bill through the legislative process, see the latest REINS news and videos, and sign up to receive e-mail updates about this important legislation.

The REINS Act will receive a House committee markup and be considered on the House floor in the coming months.  As this bill continues to gain momentum, I hope you will visit the new REINS Act website often to follow its progress toward passage in the House of Representatives.