Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act Is Not Necessarily Anti-Science

Congress should take responsibility for making the rules that affect health, safety, and livelihoods of Americans



Lots of activists are gnashing teeth and rending garments over the passage in the House of Representatives of the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act which would require both houses of Congress to vote on any new regulations issued by federal agencies that have an economic impact exceeding $100 million. The Union of Concerned Scientists asserts the REINS Act exists "to 'rein in' public health, safety, and environmental protections, and nothing more. They have been written and drafted by corporate lobbyists not to improve the federal regulatory process, but to stymy it, and add yet another roadblock for implementing sensible safeguards."

Over at The New Scientist, physical sciences editor Lisa Grossman dismisses the REINS Act supporters' claim that its purpose is "increase accountability for and transparency in the Federal regulatory process." Instead she sees a darker motive: "In practice, [passage of the REINS Act] could mean that years of painstaking research that go into writing regulations can simply be ditched, replaced with simple political whims….the fact that Congress seems eager to strip science out of the rule-making process is part of a larger trend: replacing scientific expertise with the vagaries of politics."

As necessary and valuable as scientific expertise is, scientists and federal bureaucrats are not experts at evaluating and making benefit-risk tradeoffs. If members of Congress get those tradeoffs wrong, voters can fire those whom they believe are not acting in ways that adequately protect their health, safety, and livelihoods.

As my colleague Eric Boehm has reported the federal regulatory state is out of control with new rules proliferating under President Obama at near light speed. As Case Western University law professor Jonathan Adler points out the Constitution vests the power to make laws in Congress, not in federal executive agencies. Adler concludes:

Federal regulation reaches nearly all aspects of modern life and is pervasive in the modern economy. Much of this regulation may be necessary or advisable, and nothing in the REINS Act would hinder a sympathetic Congress from approving new federal regulations. In all likelihood, however, the REINS Act's congressional approval process would prevent the implementation of particularly unpopular or controversial regulatory initiatives. The primary effect of the legislation would be to make Congress more responsible for federal regulatory activity by forcing legislators to voice their opinion on the desirability of significant regulatory changes.

It is past time for Congress to take responsibility to reassert its authority to make the rules that affect the health and livelihoods of millions of Americans.

NEXT: Donald Trump Sworn In This Morning, Protesters Swarm D.C., El Chapo in Court in Brooklyn: A.M. Links

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157 responses to “Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act Is Not Necessarily Anti-Science

  1. I'm not convinced this would pass on a party line vote even if absent a threat of a Democrat filibuster. Why would Congress want to ever take responsibility for the horrible effects of legislation they pass off to the faceless bureaucracy?

    1. It's a valid question. The votes on this act will distinguish who is actually for limited government and accountability in the GOP.

    2. And if it does pass will Trump sign it into law because it would limit his power to rule and regulate?

  2. Yeah, Gaia forbid that the commoners who are affected by regulations should have any say in their imposition!

    1. You don't understand. Democrats want a democracy up until they don't. And when they don't, it's because our betters know better than us about everything. They're the very toppest of Top men at work for you!

      1. The essence of Democratic ideology is that people are not competent to run their own lives, but can and should be trusted to pick, from among themselves, those who will run EVERYBODY'S lives.

        (The essence of Republican ideology is "IDK, Not Democrat Tho LOL.")

        1. IDK, Not Democrat Tho LOL

          The slogan of Millenial Republicans everywhere.

        2. Funny thing is that the Republicans used to at least be able to stand up to the likes of Elizabeth "the metric is money" Warren and say that outcomes are what matter, not money. There are few enough of those left.

          We're not only considering outcomes, but the unintended consequences of those outcomes. Libertarians' greatest work yet undone is to get people to think laterally about what the laws they desire will do, not just simple cause-and-effect. Legislators would rather play a shell game with the unintended consequences of their laws and shuffle them into ever more complicated hiding places so they'll always have something to do, and the populace is so thick that few enough see that reality.

          1. That would be nice but the first step is understanding cause and effect at all and walking away from the cargo cult that says spending more money is the solution to any problem.

    2. Along these lines, keep hording your lightbulbs, guys. They managed to slip this in on the way out the door. I guess the implementation is far enough out the Dems can blame Trump.

  3. I call upon President Trump to outlaw acronyms. I don't imagine many laws being passed after that.

    1. I think all laws should have to be written out by hand by actual Congressman. Meaning no aids or lobbyists. From their semi-functioning brains to paper.

      You best believe laws would be fewer and simpler.

      1. In that case a "government shutdown" would occur because "we've run out of crayons!"

      2. A pox on both their houses. Give the Congressmen and lobbyists alike the AIDS they're due.

  4. This is far, far overdue. Congress created the regulatory monster, only they can undo it.

  5. Slate's Trump Doomsday checklist. I'm only a couple in, it starts with the economy. After they deregulate the banks, they predict the collapse of a major financial institution that will need to be bailed.

    1. I love how much they love the estate tax. I want to ask all of my liberal friends: So if your dad died and it turned out that he had done a good job planning for the future and left you a couple of million, you'd be ok with the government taking half for no goddamn reason?

    2. I vaguely recalled a time when "too big to fail" was a mocking phrase instead of recieved wisdom.

  6. These people are idiots.. campaign members to re-elect trump hard at work

    1. Washington MPD is the typical nasty big city police department. MPD officers look just as scary as many of the people they arrest and more so sometimes. MPD has their own riot quick reaction force and they have brought in riot teams from 40 other jurisdictions, including places like Baltimore, Richmond and Philadelphia.

      Given the fact that big city police officers are often just as violent and crazy as the criminals they catch and that they are in no danger of being fired much less tried and convicted if they kill someone, what the fuck kind of retard would show up at this thing and start a riot?

      I am not saying it is right the police are that nasty. It is not. But the reality is they are. And it being wrong isn't going to fix your collar bone when you are chained to a hospital bed in some emergency room waiting for a doctor to set it before they take you to jail. And oh by the way, your "protest" will have accomplished nothing except confirm to a skeptical nation that "yes voting for Trump was the lesser of two evils".

      These people are a special breed of moron.

      1. And they seem to have no awareness of the fact that everybody in the shop they just wrecked and looted probably voted for Hillary.

        1. Washington DC voted something like 92 to 8 in favor of Hillary. So yeah, trying to burn down Washington is not exactly sticking it to the deplorables. They are just retarded. I don't know what you do with them.

          1. Sterilization as a first step wouldn't hurt.

  7. "yet another roadblock for implementing sensible safeguards"

    Well, this assumes the Senate and House agree on a meaningful bill and Trump signs it.

    The proposed "roadblock" is that before a law takes effect, Congress has to pass it, like it says in the Constitution.

    1. Unless you're my doctor, I don't want to hear "we have to pass it to find out what's in it."

      1. "Mouse bones, lots of long hair, and part of a Beanie Baby? That can't be right. Nurse, prepare the barium enema."

        1. Eddie is an owl?

          1. The Beanie Baby makes me thing more likely beagle than owl

  8. In practice, [passage of the REINS Act] could mean that years of painstaking research that go into writing regulations can simply be ditched, replaced with simple political whim...

    We'd have anarchy! Congress actual making laws again? ANARCHY!

  9. "Instead she sees a darker motive: "In practice, [passage of the REINS Act] could mean that years of painstaking research that go into writing regulations can simply be ditched, replaced with simple political whims....the fact that Congress seems eager to strip science out of the rule-making process is part of a larger trend: replacing scientific expertise with the vagaries of politics."

    This is pure, distilled, elitism.

    The "vagaries of politics"?

    If democracy doesn't leave scientists free to impose themselves on the American people--without elected politicians getting in the way--then democracy has got to go!

    1. The beating heart of all progressivism.

      Also note that the 'vagaries' of politics would include the sorts of value judgments that science (actual science) is incapable of making.

      Not that those sorts of judgments don't otherwise get made. Just that, in the absence of Congress expressing it's will they get made by the likes of Grossman, only behind the scenes and already baked into the cake lest the hoi polloi think there are other options.

      c.f Global Warming Climate Change

      1. You forgot to include the previous name for it; global cooling. Since they were always wrong, they went with a neutral non-descriptive name so it can mean anything on any given day.

  10. require both houses of Congress to vote on any new regulations issued by federal agencies that have an economic impact exceeding $100 million

    Look forward to no new billion dollar regulations. Be prepared for ten times as many regulations that go for 99.99 mil each.

    Dollar stores learned that trick years ago - it's not hard to sell a package of cookies at half the price, just put half the number of cookies in the package.

    1. My version of the law is "Any regulation must have active, affirmative assent from congress to take effect. Any regulation not explicitly and individually approved within thirty days is void. Any law which contradicts a regulation has supremacy over the regulation within the jurisdiction of the legislature that passed it."

  11. The Trump supporters cheered Obama when he was announced.

    Compare and Contrast.

    1. Relevant

      I have become positively vicious on social media...
      not one drop of conciliation or concession.

      I'm doing to them what they did to us and President and Mrs. Obama for eight years...

      I am uncivil, abusive, and obnoxious: I never fail to point out his hair, his weight, his lies, his failures, her past, her immigration status, her porno shoots, his infidelities, his lack of transparency, his connections to COMMIES, PINKOS, and REDS, his PUSSY GRABBING.

      Not for a moment, not for a millisecond do I allow that he may be competent, truth-telling, knowlegeable, moral, ethical, religious, or tolerant and accepting of all races, creeds, and colors.

      I am at Defcon 1 and that is for the duration. Two can play this game. Michelle was wrong about one thing: when they go low we need to go lower. This is what the situation warrants.

      1. I'm doing to them what they did to us and President and Mrs. Obama for eight years.

        I somehow seem to have missed all the right-wing rioting and shrieking and the rest of this bullshit.

        These morons are completely deranged.

      2. when they go low we need to go lower

        Or "I can't wait until they 'go low', because it gives me an excuse to be the abusive asshole I always was under the surface"

      3. By all means, please do turn off moderate two-time Obama voters who turned out for Trump and fence-sitters grudgingly amenable to Trump. Welcome to the winning team.

    2. Fascinating how a lot of Trump supporters don't actually hate Obama, they just think he failed. They do, on the other hand, genuinely loathe Hillary.

      1. It's a tribute to how effectively Obama conceals his actual agenda with sophistry and misdirection. The actions he has taken over the last few weeks, both directly and thru proxies, indicate a cutthroat Chicago style of politics. But his followers (and others) still believe he is above it all.

      2. It's because they're racists.

      3. I'm not a Trump supporter, but I loathe Obama too. The "Constitutional scholar" took his pen and his phone to the shitter with him and wiped his ass with it.

        The only scholarship he actually had was that he astutely studied as Bush used it for toilet paper before him and played the apt pupil.

      4. Obama is a bit like Duke basketball. What makes people hate Duke so much is not so much the team but its supporters in the media. So if you are the kind of person who pays attention to the media and are not on the left, it is very easy to loath Obama beyond all reasonable bounds. If, however, you don't pay a lot of attention to the media, and most people in this country don't, you don't have to deal with his fans there and you just see him as a nice guy who tried his best and wasn't up to the job.

        Ironically, the media's cult of personality surrounding Obama never helped him and in fact hurt him I think.

        1. Except Duke is actually a decent basketball program, perhaps the best overall over the last 20 years. They are good at what they do and they win.

          1. Yes. But there is nothing about them that is particularly loathsome other than the fact that they win, which other teams do as well. What makes people hate Duke more than other successful teams like Kansas or Kentucky is how obnoxious their media fans are. Same thing with Obama. What makes some people hate Obama more than other failed presidents is his fans in the media.

            1. People also hate him for his own arrogance and duplicity, so I think your analogy has limited value.

              1. Sure they do. But his media fans make his arrogance and duplicity even more galling.

            2. "He didn't fail us, we failed him."

      5. Some protesters have already forgotten the 'goodness of Obo':
        "Free doobies handed out by D.C. pot protesters"
        He did reched weed, right? RIGHT?!

      6. Fascinating how a lot of Trump supporters don't actually hate Obama, they just think he failed.

        I'm not surprised, considering there are hundreds of thousands of voter who voted for both Obama and Trump.

        1. And those voters are the ones who decided the election in Trump's favor. Yet, somehow Progressives are convinced Trump won because of RACISM!!.

          1. America's racism is obvious from the fact that an incompetent black guy with zero experience running anything was voted two terms as President.

            1. They only voted for him because they wanted to see a black President fail and ensure there would never be another one.

              1. Dang, you mean to tell me I missed a prime chance to unleash my inner racist?

                Why didn't anyone warn me sooner???

  12. Adler points out the Constitution vests the power to make laws in Congress, not in federal executive agencies

    Not since FDR.

    1. and particularly not since Nixon

      1. Which is why I curse Nixon's name to this day.

        1. +1 Hunter S Thompson

      2. That's why Democrats hate Nixon. Well that and his war in Indochina.

  13. From the coverage I've seen this morning, CNN's is surprisingly sedated in their coverage of this inauguration. I was hoping for a large dose of pants shitting hysteria. Instead I just get the typical sickening circle jerk from the self-important pricks in DC.

    1. CNN helpfully pointed out that Hillary wears white because it's the color of the suffragettes. Curiously when Melania or Ivanka wears white it becomes a racist symbol of white supremacy.

      1. Do they think no one notices shit like that? I understand that they are Progs and they are biased. What I can't understand is how they can be so transparent about it and then still act offended when anyone points it out.

        1. Well since CNN is only on in airports and hotel lobbies where the sound is off, they may actually think that nobody hears them.

          1. I think they just talk to each other. The media really is one giant fart bubble.

            1. Pretty much.

    2. Unlike earlier in the week when they outlined a seditious strategy to keep the current administration in-place.

      1. These idiots actually thought they could get the electoral college to go rogue and elect someone else. That is some pretty strong denial of reality. They must be losing their minds this afternoon.

  14. Cardinal Dolan prays God will send our rulers wisdom.

    Another guy recites the Gospel of Matthew.

    1. The lady minister says "these United States" - YES!

      1. Are they going to do a rabbi and an imam?

        1. No, a university chorus singing about "we were strangers" - I bet the progs will be all over this "rebuke to xenophobia."

  15. up to I saw the paycheck which had said $8845 , I have faith that my friends brother woz like actualy erning money part-time on their apple labtop. . there aunt had bean doing this 4 only 7 months and resently took care of the morgage on there mini mansion and bought themselves a Lancia . view it now....


    1. I told you before. It's their. And what is a laptop? You should try google translator, you disingenuous pile of shit.

  16. Why in Hell is Moobs getting a speaking part?

    "Gender Identity"?

    1. He'll be coming out soon, perhaps?

    2. I think he's filibustering the swearing in.

      1. Well, it could have been Dick Durbin....the mentally challenged quota hire of the Senate.

  17. Schumer with the national unity preaching.

  18. Now Moobs is going Ken Burns - does he not remember this stuff was on TV?

    1. Never get between him and a camera - not even at a Republican's inauguration.

      1. Maybe he can run up and grab the microphone right before Trump is sworn in and give a speech about how Hillary should really be President, Kanye style. Wouldn't that be awesome?

        1. It would be awesome when Trump punched him in the face.

          1. Yes. These things should be scripted like WWE. Trump could punch him in the face and Milena could use the folding chair on him. It would be the greatest Inauguration in history.

  19. Bah!

    *wanders off to get coffee*

    1. I've gone to the kitchen 4 times already and it still isn't over.

      1. East coast time. It's not too early to drink.

        1. I had too much last night and got up and ran 9 miles this morning because my dumb ass let my wife talk me into running a half marathon with her. I was done for the day at about 8:45 this morning. That sounds like a great idea.

          Although the run did pretty much get rid of all the hangover feelings. The pain in my legs drove off the headache.

  20. "Man and wife! Say man and wife!"

    1. Since everything is gender neutral now, shouldn't we say "pitcher and catcher" now rather than "man and wife"?

      1. "partner and spouse"

        1. I like mine better. I am always for clear descriptive language.

  21. "Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act Is Not Necessarily Anti-Science"

    Certainly happy someone cleared that up for me.

    1. Science demands more government control and regulation of every aspect of your life. Didn't you know that Sevo? What are you some kind of racist or nihilist or something?

  22. Oh for fucks sake! I thought we were gonna be done. Its like a fucking Baptist sermon. Every time you think its winding down, its just shifting gears.

  23. OK, it's noon, Trump's term begins, but he can't execute the powers and duties of his office until he's taken his oath or affirmation. Pence is Acting President!

    1. And now Trump is fully President!

  24. Something i hate about the left is that they routinely gin up terms like "Anti-Science" to describe 'things they don't like', and even the people who ostensibly disagree with them about their argument will use the bullshit-laden terms as though they have some conceptual legitimacy.

    See = "Hacked the election". "Fake news" How James Comey "exonerated" hillary in his first press conference. and on and on and on.

    The first step they (the left) take is to capture the terminology by which public discusses issues in the first place. That forces people to 'frame' things in certain ways, regardless of which side they take.

    You see it happening all the time but no one ever bothers to point it out.

    1. It goes back to Marxism. Marxism claimed to be a science and ever since the left has claimed their policies are the product of science and thus cannot be refuted or discredited.

      1. I was thinking less about the specific term "science", and more just generally about how the vocabulary surrounding every issue is very carefully chosen to ensure that the core-ideas are instantly granted currency, such that half the debate is over before it even starts.

        Using the term "anti-science" grants that there IS such a thing. When in fact, most of what it describes is simply 'people taking a minority viewpoint', which is, if anything, typical of scientific argument.

        sure, there may be people like "creationists" accurately described as anti-science, but they're the minority. the term was invented to sneer at people who fail to adhere to politically-determined scientific orthodoxy.

        1. They use the word as an all purpose endorsement and insult because the idea that leftist policies are based in science is leftover from Marxism. So, they naturally see their opponents as "anti-science" and use the term as an all purpose insult.

        2. This has been a tenet of socialism from the beginning, control the language and you can control how people think about things. There was a reason for Newspeak in 1984.

        3. Commonly, also, the employment of false dichotomy:
          I was opposed to the Hag, therefore I'm a deplorable Trump supporter.

    2. I think of it as a type of sophistry. Modern feminism (aka cultural Marxism) does much the same.

    3. The left is entirely post modern. There is no Truth, so those word games are ever present.

      Just like the push by Ethel Rosenberg's children to have Obama 'exonerate' her as well. Even though the Constitution grants no such power to POTUS.

  25. OK, looks the Hat and Hair have ASSUMED TOTAL POWER!!!!

    Have the roving cannibal rape gangs been released yet?

    1. I'm ready to mount one of those .50 cal turret guns on my SUV and join LIbertopia.

  26. Melania is bundled up in some blue thing that hides her body. I wonder if she's naked or wearing rags underneath since no stylist would dress her. Sad.

    1. please be naked, please be naked, please be naked

      Whoops, did I type this out loud?

  27. Guess he's not gonna "faithfully execute" his duties.

    1. "Will sternly and powerfully take what is mine!"

        1. I will not tolerate you besmirching Melania!

  28. Is this the coup? The soldiers lining up behind him.

  29. Ooooh, Zing!

    I cannot wait for SugarFree's post-innaugural take on this.

    1. It's a rich buffet of barf.

  30. You're all watching the inauguration on TV?

    is no one pretending to work?

    1. It's 2 a.m. You think I'm street meat?

      1. You are all street meat to GILMORE. All.

      2. I wasn't going to say anything but....

      3. If you got it, strafe, flaunt it and sell it!

    2. I'm a white guy. Work? You can't make me do that. Trump's the president now.

      1. How many pussies have you grabbed today?

  31. This is not conciliatory at all.

    1. Dayum. Basically it's, "This place has gone to the shitter. Who's been running this dump? Oh, and don't be a bigot. Thanks."

      1. I skipped about half of it - yeah, "conciliatory" is not the word I would use.

        1. That was crazy. Worth watching.

    2. Washington flourished ? but the people did not share in its wealth.

      Politicians prospered ? but the jobs left, and the factories closed.

      The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country.

      Their victories have not been your victories; their triumphs have not been your triumphs; and while they celebrated in our nation's Capital, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land.

      That all changes ? starting right here, and right now, because this moment is your moment: it belongs to you.

      It belongs to everyone gathered here today and everyone watching all across America.

      This is your day. This is your celebration.

      And this, the United States of America, is your country.

      Things a Chicago community organizer never had the balls to say.

  32. This REINS act is a good start, but they need to go even further. The law should be that no private citizen can be punished for violating any regulation that has not been explicitly, specifically approved by Congress.

  33. Is this really the end of the 25 year national soap opera known as the Clintons? Could it all be over today? I have a feeling that if Hillary doesn't have a terminal illness, she will reaaprear like the Shadow in Lord of the Rings. Why shouldn't she run in 2020? Who else do the Democrats have? Warren?

    1. She's going to drink herself to death before 2020.

      1. She looks so old and frail. I can't see her being alive in four years either. But evil and bitterness is a potent life force.

        1. Perfect disguise for a Terminator.

        2. She looks so old and frail. I can't see her being alive in four years either.

          Heaven doesn't want her and Hell's afraid she'll take over.

    2. Hillary may run for mayor of NYC. They like Hillary, and DeBlasio is fairly unpopular.

    3. It's definitely Franken, from what I'm seeing on FB. It's like they're a hive mind and they just know who the next in line is.


      2. Gah...

        Franken is a loathsome twat.

  34. In SF, all the protesters got rained upon; perhaps they'll melt away.

  35. So a rabbi, a reverend and a bishop close out an inauguration....

  36. Trump was like happy gilmore and hillary was shooter mcgavin

    Hillary was entitled to the green jacket and it was her turn

  37. Bob Dole is surprised Bob Dole is still here to see this.


    Also, I want at KAYAK!!!!

  39. HnR EXCLUSIVE: Could First Lady Melania Be Having An AFFAIR?

    WASHINGTON, DC - As the First Family filed out of the Inauguration ceremonies, Mrs. Trump was seen "on the arm" of a young Marine.

    Although longtime observers of this event say that these military escorts are customary, many Americans were "shocked" to see the First Lady arm-in-arm with a younger man. More on this situation as it develops.

  40. Science is descriptive, not prescriptive. The word is "technocracy". Like the difference between theology and theocracy.

  41. It would be nice if they could sunset a lot of regulations. I'd like to be able to buy incandescent light bulbs again.

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