January 4, 2017
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515
Consumer Reports and its policy and mobilization arm, Consumers Union, strongly urge you to vote no on H.R. 26, the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act of 2017. This bill would hamstring federal agencies in their work to protect consumers from dangers such as tainted food, dirty air and water, invasions of privacy, and predatory financial schemes. It would recklessly undermine existing laws and further paralyze the government.
H.R. 26 would require all “major rules” to receive the approval of both the House and Senate within 70 legislative days in order to take effect. With few exceptions, if Congress failed to act in time, the rule could not be brought up again until the next Congress. This requirement would delay or halt the implementation of existing federal statutes simply through congressional inaction. It would unjustifiably obstruct the President’s constitutional duty to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” Federal agencies issuing rules responsibly follow numerous procedural requirements established by Congress and the Constitution, exercising authority Congress has already granted them. This bill would create gridlock and dysfunction on a scale unprecedented in our country in modern times.
H.R. 26 would empower either chamber to unilaterally and silently stop a rule, no matter how sensible, important, urgent, or non-controversial it is. A rule could be indefinitely placed on hold even if Congress had required the agency to issue that particular rule. Under REINS, science and expertise would not be the driver of regulatory outcomes, and congressional gridlock could waste important resources that should be used in performing an agency’s mission.
H.R. 26 is a dangerous proposal that would tie up the regulatory process and work against the interests of consumers. We strongly urge you to stand up for critical public protections and vote no on the bill.
Consumer Policy and Mobilization
George P. Slover
Senior Policy Counsel
William C. Wallace