WASHINGTON—Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, issued the following statement in response to U.S. House of Representatives passage of the REINS Act, a bill that will limit the executive branch’s ability to enforce and administer federal laws.
“In its first week, the U.S. House of Representatives has made it abundantly clear who it intends to serve in the next two years: itself and its most powerful corporate donors. On the heels of its failed effort to gut congressional ethics oversight, the House passed late last night the ‘REINS Act,’ which would require Congress to approve ‘major’ regulations issued by federal agencies.
As introduced, the REINS Act is completely unnecessary and profoundly unwise. Congress has always had the authority to override, clarify, or rewrite the details of administrative actions. But Congress has neither time nor the expertise to micromanage every nuance of regulatory details before they can be allowed to take effect. That is why we have executive branch agencies in the first place.
It would be one thing if the REINS Act applied equally to all ‘major’ regulatory actions. But the House adopted an amendment that made its true motives clear: it would exempt deregulatory actions from congressional approval, no matter how costly or harmful they are to the health, safety, or finances of Americans. At the same time, the House rejected common sense amendments to ensure that the executive branch could still act on issues like clean water, automotive safety, the protection of infants, and disease prevention without being subjected to congressional log jam.
In short, this bill has quickly turned from a bad idea into a radical anti-government frenzy that would quickly enrichen our nation’s most powerful interests while forcing the health and safety of ordinary Americans to clear new hurdles. The Senate should have the good sense to reject this shameful proposal.”
Wade Henderson is the president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its 200-plus member organizations, visit www.civilrights.org.