House Conservatives: It’s Time For Congress To Get Tough On Oversight

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Conservatives in Congress say it’s time to restore the legislative branch’s oversight authority by protesting far-reaching executive orders and not abdicating lawmaking to the executive branch, no matter who is in the White House.

“If you truly want to make America great again, you want a strong legislative branch,” Idaho Republican Rep. Raul Labrador told reporters Wednesday in a news conference with a handful of House Freedom Caucus members.

Arizona Republican Rep. Matt Salmon said approving the Regulations from the Executive In Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act, which requires any new regulations agencies create to return to Congress for an up-or-down vote, is a great first step towards curbing executive overreach.

President Barack Obama’s administration created more than 20,600 new regulations over the last eight years, according to a Heritage Foundation study earlier this year.

“We pass very nebulous-sounding bills like the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act, and we leave all the lawmaking to the agencies,” Salmon said. “That’s got to stop.”

Labrador and Salmon said partisanship over executive overreach needs to end. (RELATED: Congress Tries To Rein In Obama’s Executive Actions)

“I think that when it comes to the executive orders, Republicans have been very critical of Barack Obama, but they weren’t so critical of George Bush when he exceeded his authority,” Salmon said.

“For us to have any credibility whatsoever, that’s what the Freedom Caucus has to be more than anything — we have to be the watchdog to protect that separation of powers and assert Congress’ relevance. And when the president oversteps his bounds, if he does — if he (Republican President-elect Donald Trump) does an executive order that is making law — the first voices should be right up here.”

Labrador is hopeful a Trump administration will quash partisanship over the executive overreach issue.

“That’s actually what I’m most excited about with a Trump presidency,” Labrador said. “For too long, both parties have put on their jerseys. So the Republicans put on their red jersey, the Democrats put on their blue jersey. And when it’s their president, they don’t attack executive overreach, but when it’s the other president, they do attack it.”

“I’m hoping because of Trump’s independence from the party, which is a healthy thing, that we will put on the legislative jersey,” Labrador added. “That we will put on the congressional jersey and realize that on some things, we’re going to agree with the president, but on other things we’re going to have to be the check on the president.”

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