It didn’t take long for the Republicans in the House of Representatives to draw a line in the sand for the promised battle over government regulations. After eight long years of executive regulatory frenzy, the party that is about to control everything wants to reel in some of what Obama has done, and the Democrats are not happy about it:
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 nation’s 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.”
Many would say that it was the hyper-regulatory Community Reinvestment Act that not only facilitated but encouraged predatory lending. That little kernel is never part of any Democrat’s telling of the financial crisis tale, because the CRA is a feel-good program and no ill shall be spoken of it per their tradition.
The problem with the Democrats and regulation is the same as it is with most things involving them: they don’t do gray areas. If you mention rolling back some regulations, they begin screaming to the public that Republicans want to do away with all regulations, which is obviously ridiculous. Reeling in a nonsensical green hysteria regulatory burden to help businesses function better is not the same as not caring if the public eats tainted meat. It the same way they approach all discussion about abortion. The tiniest of restrictions are called “Draconian” and they begin wailing about a return to “back alley abortions”.
As we all know, Democrats have no interest in helping business people because business people have no interest in being dependent upon the government.
The most disturbing trend in all of this, however, is the Democrats’ willingness to abdicate legislative duties to federal agencies. The regulatory nightmares faced by most businesses lately have been created by people who were appointed rather than elected. That’s antithetical to the entire intent of a representative republic. This is something that has been happening for years, but has really taken off in the Obama era. They have been more than happy to cede almost all responsibility to the Executive branch. They love to whine about “Republican obstruction” but in reality they don’t offer a lot to obstruct, they just punt it to the White House.
The struggle between those who have a religious faith in the power of government and those who don’t is one that needs to happen and soon. The Republicans haven’t exactly been stalwart smaller government types in recent memory, but some in the party sense a golden opportunity to get their bearings again. If they fail, we will truly be dealing with only slight variations on a theme rather than two distinct visions of how the country should be run.