On July 22, the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs voted to send the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act (REINS Act) to the full U.S. Senate for a vote without offering any amendments.
The REINS Act is a proposal designed to amend the Congressional Review Act (CRA) of 1996. Under the CRA, Congress has the authority to issue resolutions of disapproval to block new agency regulations. The REINS Act would broaden the CRA not only to allow Congress to issue resolutions of disapproval, but also to require congressional approval of major agency regulations before those regulations go into effect.
The REINS Act defines major regulations as those that have financial impacts on the U.S. economy of $100 million or more, that increase consumer prices, or that have significant harmful effects on the economy.
Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) introduced the REINS Act in the Senate for the 116th Congress. As of July 22, 2020, the REINS Act had 42 Republican cosponsors in the U.S. Senate. Representative James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) introduced a companion version of the REINS Act in the U.S. House. The House version of the bill had 15 Republican cosponsors as of July 22, 2020. Congressmen have introduced versions of the REINS Act since the 112th Congress (2011-2013).
Senator Paul said in a statement after the REINS Act received committee approval that the bill “reasserts Congress’ legislative authority and would continue the historic progress we have made under the Trump administration to curb the damaging effects of overreaching regulations.”
The Coalition for Sensible Safeguards (CSS), an organization that according to its website aims “to ensure that federal lawmakers do not undermine the standards that protect the environment, workplace safety, financial security and public health,” opposes the REINS Act. On its website, CSS wrote of the bill that, “It would force Congress to refight its previous debates, wasting time and money, and paralyzing vital agency work.”