Federal Regulations That Need Some Reform

The regulatory state has been a vital feature of the federal government’s growth and invasion into every part of America’s commercial and domestic life since the 1930s.

In recent years, the administrative rule became standard when President Obama boasted that he governed with “a pen and a phone” when Congress was noncompliant. Obama acted alone to change immigration law, expand the Obamacare statute, and many other parts of federal administrative law.

Wayne Crews wrote on July 14 at National Review about the resurgence of the regulatory state under the Biden administration and how crucial it has become that Congress act to get the executive branch under control.

The Trump administration provided some relief from the excesses of the Obama years, with some significant cutbacks in the reach of the administrative state. Trump eliminated many regulatory rules and guidance documents, ended many pending regulations, and made federal permitting of construction projects more streamlined. Many of Trump’s administrative department heads simplified rules and pulled back different forms of law.

Regulation has the organic power to grow and consume more productivity over time unless it is strictly controlled and measured. Congress may only pass a handful of laws every year, while administrative agencies hand down thousands and thousands of new regulations with the power of law.

President Biden started eliminating Trump’s deregulatory executive orders on his first day in office. He wiped out Trump’s demand that agencies strictly comply with the notice-and-comment rules found in the Administrative Procedures Act. Biden took out Trump’s transparency measures designed to provide the public with information about the regulations that agencies adopt. It is reported that the Federal Trade Commission is removing bipartite restrictions on antitrust enforcement cases.

Crews express concern that now that the COVID era has ushered in even more spectacular federal spending levels than have ever been imagined, even more, harmful regulatory effects will dig in. New health regulations, for example, will lead to new oppressive guidance documents and rules.

Crews also caution that if Congress does not act to retake the power of the purse from the executive branch, future fiscal problems will leave the country unable to grow effectively, prosper, and keep bloated government bureaucrats in check. He suggests an Abuse-of-Crisis Prevention Act that emphasizes deregulation, curbs spending, and limits the abuse of emergency power. It would serve the country if Republicans take deregulation very seriously and insist that Congress reassert its position as the legislative authority in Washington.