Notice & Comment

REINS Act Passes House, by Michael Herz

The REINS (Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny) Act, H.R. 10, passed the House on December 7.  The vote was 241-to-184; all Republicans present and four Democrats voted for the bill.  Politically, the bill is generally lumped together with the Regulatory Accountability Act, H.R. 3010, on which see here and here.  Thus, the Wall Street Journal likes it; the New York Times does not.  Substantively, however, it would do something quite different.  In a nutshell, it would take the existing Congressional Review Act’s almost-entirely-ignored provisions for congressional disapproval of significant regulations and makes one fundamental change: Instead of permitting passage of a joint resolution of disapproval before a major regulation (i.e. one with an annual impact on the economy over $100 million) becomes effective, it would require passage of a joint resolution of approval before the regulation becomes effective. The bill would create a special fast-track mechanism for considering such a resolution within the required time period; delaying tactics such as filibusters and holds would not be permitted.

As with the Regulatory Accountability Act, the legislation’s prospects in the Senate are much dimmer than in the House, and the White House has issued a Statement of Administration Policy threatening a veto.

The Section has not taken a position or submitted comments on the REINS Act.  Useful discussion in the blogosphere includes Jonathan Adler’s generally supportive posts at the Volokh Conspiracy, former Section Chair Sally Katzen’s testimony opposing the bill, and extensive coverage at RegBlog.

This post was originally published on the legacy ABA Section of Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice Notice and Comment blog, which merged with the Yale Journal on Regulation Notice and Comment blog in 2015.

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