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Congressman Bob Goodlatte

Congressman Bob Goodlatte’s Weekly Column: February 10, 2017
Rolling Back Red Tape
By Congressman Bob Goodlatte
Washington, DC (Feb. 10, 2017) -

Most people wouldn’t read the Federal Register on a daily basis – it’s not exactly light reading. But each business day, the Federal Register, kind of like a daily newspaper for the bureaucracy, is published with new federal agency regulations, executive orders, and proclamations. The 2016 edition of the Federal Register clocked in at 97,110 new pages for the year, longer by 16,000 pages than 2008’s edition of 80,700 pages. This growth in new rules and regulations from government agencies is precisely why the House of Representatives is advancing a two-part plan to cut through the influx of red tape coming out of federal agencies in recent years.

In the opening days of the 115th Congress, the House of Representatives passed three bills to reform the way federal rules and regulations are made going forward and ensure bureaucrats are held accountable to the American people. These bills, including my Regulatory Accountability Act, would help make sure costly, ineffective red tape doesn’t get in the way of America’s job creators. Now, Congress is using a tool called the Congressional Review Act, or CRA, to roll back some of the most egregious rules released in the final days of the Obama Administration.

The CRA has been around since 1996 when it was signed into law by President Clinton. It creates a streamlined process to roll back a federal rule without the threat of a Senate filibuster. By using this tool, Congress can look back at rules finalized in the last 60 legislative days and introduce a “resolution of disapproval” to repeal the rule in its entirety. In order to bypass the Senate’s arcane rules and slow process, these resolutions only need to pass by a majority vote in both the House and Senate before being sent to the President’s desk for signature.

In just the last couple of weeks, the House of Representatives has passed a series of eight resolutions using the CRA to strike costly, overreaching rules from the books. One of these is the flawed Stream Protection Rule, which would annihilate America’s coal industry and threaten thousands of good paying jobs. This resolution has already passed in the Senate and is on its way to the White House to become law. Another is a Social Security Administration rule that would lead to many law abiding Americans losing their Second Amendment rights. The House also voted to repeal the Department of Education’s new rules that undermine state and local control over education.

The American economy needs relief from overregulation. The families and businesses who must shoulder the costs of red tape need relief from rules that are all pain and no gain. Using the CRA to stop these rules is a good use of legislative tools provided to Congress. The way Washington makes regulations must change so that smarter, more efficient regulations become the norm, not the exception.

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