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Star Parker

Founder & President, Center for Urban Renewal and Education

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REINS Act needed to continue Trump’s fight against executive overreach

Jun 16, 2023

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House Republicans have passed the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act (REINS Act) of 2023, which limits executive authority. The REINS Act would restore congressional oversight to regulatory rule-making by requiring every new “major rule” proposed by federal agencies to be approved by the House and Senate before taking effect.

Straight Arrow News contributor Star Parker makes the case that a better system of checks and balances over the executive branch is just what our Founding Fathers would’ve wanted.

Washington, D.C. has been out of sync with our checks and balances system for a very long time. And while the last president tried to correct it, there’s a lot more work to do and the House of Representatives is attempting to do it.

For the House to pass the REINS Act, and the Supreme Court to take on this case, is a good thing. It means they’re noticing that power is corrupting Washington and our systems. And they’re checking on it. 

And while [former U.S. President Calvin] Coolidge would no doubt still feel that he doesn’t fit in with the times, well, the bloated power of today’s executive branch brings a whole lot of Americans in agreement with Coolidge. 

But there is progress being made in limiting the power of the government. And if this power continues, we’re going to see a whole lot more people involved to limit the power of government. Or at least that’s the hope, that’s the progress. And if we continue to work at empowering people, instead of the government, then maybe we can reach a state where liberal presidents like FDR and Biden would no longer fit in with the times, as well.

We’ve got to get to the place where our Founders wanted us. For now, let’s just keep watching them. 

And this expertly designed system of checks and balances that are bringing back in place [sic], this is what our Founding Fathers designed — limited government. And whether Congress or the Supreme Court are able to check on this power is what we are going to continue to watch.

And we’re going to make sure that the next election cycle continues to watch the excessive overreach of government power even in federal agencies.

By the light of a kerosene lamp, and with his hand on the family bible, 100 years ago Republican Calvin Coolidge was sworn into the office of the presidency. Coolidge was a very frugal man. A president dedicated to reining in spending and restoring the honor of the presidency. He passed away just before FDR took office in 1933. But he was known to have remarked then that he “no longer feels that he fits in with the times.” Coolidge marked the ending before the beginning. With FDR and onward, the power of the president and the executive branch would continue to grow. And grow, and grow and grow and grow.

 

When government has more power, that means it has more overreach. It is more often going to usurp the authority and liberties of its citizens, of our families, our faith communities, and the free market of private businesses. Yet, while you may not have noticed or heard much about it, things are changing here in Washington DC, and some of these changes may be dramatic.

 

The U.S. House of Representatives, under the leadership of Speaker Kevin McCarthy, recently passed what is known as the REINS Act. Designed to help rein in government overreach, hence the clever name, the bill seeks to require congressional approval of major rules enacted by federal agencies.

 

Federal agencies here in Washington have for a long time had too much power, too much unchecked power. Now that the House is led by Republicans, they’re starting to look into this. And they’re not the only ones. Recently, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear a case that could fundamentally change the tendency of federal agencies to make up their own rules, their own interpretations of policy and law.

 

The specific case is regarding fishermen, believe it or not — the case the court has taken up is regarding fishermen who harvest Atlantic herring. They argue that federal rules and regulations unfairly require fishing boats to carry federal compliance monitors, and that these monitors are being paid for by the fisherman hundreds of dollars a day. When this case came before the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, that court ruled in favor of the agency — that monitors have to be on fishing boats..

 

Arguing in dissent, a wonderful circuit judge stated, “Congress did not authorize the National Marine Fisheries Service to make herring fishermen in the Atlantic pay the wages of federal monitors.” And that’s a quote.

 

This is just a tiny example of thousands of cases and stories that reach every community in our country. The power that an individual or institution holds is always incentivized to keep that power, and in cases of these federal agencies? They’ll inflict that power on anyone they perceive weaker, any place that they think they can go. That’s why the Biden Administration pleaded with the U.S. Supreme Court to not even hear this case. They don’t want to hear from these fishermen.

 

Washington, D.C. has been out of sync with our checks and balances system for a very long time. And while the last president tried to correct it, there’s a lot more work to do and the House of Representatives is attempting to do it. For the House to pass the REINS Act, and the Supreme Court to take on the case, is a good thing. It means that power is corrupting Washington and our systems. And they’re checking on it. 

 

And while Coolidge would no doubt still feel that he doesn’t fit in with the times, well the bloated power of today’s executive branch brings a whole lot of Americans in agreement with Coolidge. 

 

But there is progress being made in limiting the power of the government. And if this power continues, we’re going to see a whole lot more people involved to limit the power of government. Or at least that’s the hope, that’s the progress. And if we continue to work at empowering people, instead of the government, then maybe we can reach a state where liberal presidents like FDR and Biden would no longer fit in with the times, as well. We’ve got to get to the place where our founders wanted us. For now, let’s just keep watching them. 

 

And this expertly designed system of checks and balances that are bringing back in place, this is what our founding fathers designed — limited government and whether Congress or the Supreme Court are able to check on this power is what we are going to continue to watch and we’re going to make sure that the next election cycle continues to watch the excessive overreach of government power even in federal agencies.

 

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