Readers of this blog are well aware of the extent to which individual liberties are constrained not only by laws passed by Congress but also by federal administrative agencies (like ATF but also including EPA, and any number of other examples). For most of last week I was in Washington, D.C., attending a conference, where over lunch one day I learned of a new proposal to empower Congress to limit runaway agency rules.
For the past few years a bill has been pending to enact the REINS Act, which would require that major rules be enacted by Congress itself, treating the output of a federal agency’s notice-and-comment rulemaking effort as the equivalent of a bill for the consideration of Congress. That legislative proposal has not moved forward due, in part, to the lack of a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate as well as the certainty of a veto from President Obama (who often took unilateral action as the head of the bureaucracy). Had the REINS Act been law, presumably measures like ATF-41P would have died from the lack of affirmative congressional approval.
I learned last week of a proposal that would go a step beyond the proposed REINS Act. The Madison Coalition and its energetic Director, Roman Buhler, are generating pressure for a constitutional amendment that would permit 25% of the membership of either house of Congress to object to federal agency rulemaking, requiring that Congress then affirmatively act on the agency’s proposal before it would go into effect. The Reguatory Freedom Amendment already has generated significant support and it certainly worthy of public consideration. I welcome readers to visit the Madison Coalition to learn more about the proposal.