‘REINS’ Act Passes House Judiciary Committee

The “Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny” (REINS) Act of 2011 was passed by the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday (October 25th) and is expected to move quickly to the House Floor for a vote.  The bill would require Congressional approval of major rules of the Executive Branch before they may take effect (currently, major rules take effect unless Congress passes and the President signs a joint resolution disapproving them).

“Major rule” is defined in the proposed bill as any rule, including an interim final rule, that has resulted in or is likely to result in: 1) an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more; 2) a major increase in costs or prices; or 3) significant adverse effects on competition, employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or U.S. competitiveness.  The measure goes on to say that a major rule may take effect for 90 calendar days without such Congressional approval if the President determines such rule is necessary because of an imminent threat to health or safety or other emergency, for the enforcement of criminal laws, for national security, or to implement an international trade agreement.

A Senate companion bill, S 299, was the subject of a July 20th hearing but has not been marked up by the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee.