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REINS Act debate reveals desires in US to check power of White House

Source:Xinhua Published: 2013-8-12 14:26:34

The Conservative Daily, a non-profit conservative organization, sent out mass emails on Sunday asking Americans to urge the US Senate to pass an act designed to reining in regulatory agencies.

The move indicates that conservative Americans have a desire to put a check on the power of the White House.

The US House of Representatives on Aug. 2 approved a long-sought Republican bill, the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act, aimed at limiting regulatory agencies by requiring congressional review of rules deemed to cost more than 100 million dollars.

Under the REINS Act, any new major regulations that will cost more than 100 million dollars annually can not take effect before they are approved by the Congress.

The mass email says the Act puts power back into the hands of the people and forces members of the US Congress to vote on the merits of a bill and then be held accountable for their votes.

It says that President Barack Obama "cannot simply install his cronies into high-ranking government agencies and let them run wild over America's economy."

"REINS requires there be Congressional approval before major regulations can take effect. This prevents the President and government agencies from handing down decrees in a dictator-like manner, bypassing Congress and influencing our society without the input of the people and our representatives," says the email.

It says that the REINS Act "is a wonderful way to reign in Obama's power and stop him from going around Congress on major legislation."

Todd Young, a sponsor of the REINS Act, said after it passed the House of Representatives, "Regardless of which party occupies the White House, this common-sense legislation is needed to restore the balance of power in Washington and return responsibility for the legislative process to Congress."

"For too long, Congress has allowed administrations of both parties to enact regulations at great costs to the American people with little oversight. The REINS Act would allow Congress to vote on new major rules before they are imposed on hardworking families, small businesses, and agriculture producers," said Young.

Sally Katzen, a former administrator of the US Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) who now teaches at the New York University Law School, wrote in a recent paper that the REINS Act violates the separation of powers doctrine.

Therefore, the act "impermissibly interferes with the President's constitutional duty to 'take care that the laws be faithfully executed,'" she said.

She maintains that the act "alters the balance of power between the President and the Congress."

However, Jonathan H. Adler, professor of the Case Western Reserve University School of Law, holds opposite views in another recent paper.

Adler also rejects concerns that the REINS Act would place Congress in the position of unduly interfering with executive authority.

He insists that there is no interference with a core executive function because the Act affects the rule-making power that Congress delegated to government agencies.

Even though the chance for the REINS Act to pass the US Senate is slim, the hot debate has demonstrated the will of many Americans, with Republicans and conservative Americans in particular, to further control the power of the White House in making major decisions.

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