Republicans act to curb U.S. regulation;
Democrats poised for fight
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[January 06, 2017]
By Lisa Lambert and Richard Cowan
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republicans
lawmakers on Thursday pressed ahead in trying to strip down U.S.
regulations, with the House of Representatives passing a bill that
requires Congressional approval of major rulemakings that could affect
areas ranging from the environment to education.
The House voted 237 to 187 on legislation known as the "REINS Act" that
is intended to keep agencies from pumping out new rules.
"Excessive regulation means higher prices, lower wages, fewer jobs, less
economic growth and a less competitive America," House Judiciary
Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte said before the vote, echoing the
anti-regulation sentiment popular in his party.
President-elect Donald Trump has promised to roll back regulation,
saying it would boost economic growth.
The Judiciary Committee's senior Democrat, John Conyers, called the
REINS Act "gumming-the-works legislation" that imposes unworkable
deadlines and prescribes convoluted procedures in order to "end
rulemaking as we know it."
"Without question, it was the lack of regulatory controls that
facilitated rampant predatory lending, which nearly destroyed our
nationís economy," Conyers said, referring to the 2007-09 financial
crisis and recession. "It led to millions of home foreclosures and
devastated neighborhoods across America. In fact, it nearly caused a
global economic meltdown."
On Wednesday, the House passed a bill giving Congress the power to kill
dozens of new rules at once. On Thursday Republican Senator Ron Johnson
introduced an identical companion bill in the Senate.
The legislation would allow lawmakers to bundle a variety of rules
finalized since May together for a single vote of disapproval. Under a
law known as the Congressional Review Act, Congress currently can only
vote to void rules one-by-one. That could take days, given the high
number of recently enacted rules that rankle Republicans on energy, the
environment, transportation, finance, education and communications.
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U.S. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) speaks
with fellow members on the House floor on the first day of the new
session of Congress in Washington, U.S. January 3, 2017.
Disapproval votes require simple majorities to pass.
Senate Democrats, however, are poised to block Johnson's bill and
most other anti-regulation legislation. Many in the party believe
regulations benefit and protect individuals.
While Republicans control Congress, and in a couple of weeks will
take over the White House, Democrats can cripple their efforts
through Senate filibusters and possibly start a protracted fight
"This legislation would make the process much quicker, but Iím
committed to working as long as we need to in order to take
advantage of the Congressional Review Act," Johnson said. "We ought
to work 24-7 if necessary to bring regulatory relief to American
consumers and businesses."
(Editing by Leslie Adler)
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