The federal bureaucracy has immense power over the lives of every American. Federal regulations, written and enforced by unelected bureaucrats, govern virtually every aspect of the economy and society. This is not how our founding fathers designed the government to work.
Due to overregulation, businesses are less innovative, workers have lower income, and families have a poorer quality of life. Ultimately, it means less freedom for the American people.
In Federalist 47, James Madison defined tyranny as “the accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective.” The Constitution was designed to prevent tyranny by separating the powers of government into the three distinct, coequal branches.
Unfortunately, over the past several decades, Congress has relinquished too much of its Constitutional responsibilities and lawmaking authority to an ever-growing bureaucracy. For the sake of our republic and the well-being of the American people, we must take steps to restore Congressional authority and rein in the federal bureaucracy.
To that end, the Republican Study Committee’s (RSC) budget that was released today includes a number of common sense proposals to begin to restore the balance of powers.
The RSC budget includes the Article I Regulatory Budget Act sponsored by Chairman Mark Walker to allow Congress to regain oversight and supremacy over the administrative state. A regulatory budget works similar to a fiscal budget. Under this proposal, Congress would establish annual caps on the costs Executive branch agencies could impose on the economy through new regulations.
Over time, agencies will be forced to repeal existing outdated and unnecessary rules, reducing the overall burden on the country. Reviews of regulatory budgeting proposals show that it could save up to $100 billion in costs imposed on the economy each year. More importantly, regulatory budgeting would change the way Washington works, helping to restore the proper balance of powers envisioned by the Framers and making government more accountable to the people.
The RSC reform plan also incorporates the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act, which puts in place a much-needed check on unelected bureaucrats by requiring Congressional approval of any major federal regulation. In addition, the budget includes Rep. John Ratcliffe’s Separation of Powers Restoration Act to scale back Chevron-based deference that requires the courts to defer to federal agencies’ interpretations of laws.
This year, OMB estimates that the executive branch will collect and spend $534 billion in fines, fees, penalties, and other funds – all without Congressional review. This budget calls for implementing Rep. Gary Palmer’s Agency Accountability Act, which would require these moneys to be deposited in the Treasury’s General Fund and explicit congressional authority to spend these funds.
Furthermore, I am pleased that the RSC budget includes my State and Local Pensions Accountability and Security Act, which will protect taxpayers by prohibiting the U.S. Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve from offering any sort of bailout to a state or local government pension system.
A recent study shows that state and local pensions are underfunded by more than $5 trillion dollars. My bill ensures states are held accountable to the pension promises they have made – while protecting taxpayers and the hardworking American pension holders from the irresponsible spending of states.
We now face a great question as a nation: what form of government shall we have? Do we want a limited, constitutional republic that is based on the consent of the governed, the rule of law, and securing the rights of its citizens? Or will we willfully surrender the principles that have made America the beacon of liberty in the world for more than 200 years and succumb to a form of government that is unbound and unrepresentative?
With the reforms included in this budget proposal, the Republican Study Committee unequivocally chooses to keep our Republic.
Congressman Brian Babin serves the people of Texas’s 36th district in the U.S. House of Representatives.