WASHINGTON — After years of seeing their policy proposals stonewalled by President Barack Obama, congressional Republicans are looking to make quick work of recycling old legislation that could have new life in a Trump administration.
At the top of the GOP’s list are proposals that would put checks on executive rulemakings. Republicans argue that Obama abused the tool to make end-runs around Congress on issues such as immigration and the environment.
With that in mind, one of the first items on the House of Representatives’ agenda in January is a bill being shepherded by Gainesville Republican Doug Collins that would require Congress’ stamp of approval on any regulation with an economic impact of at least $100 million.
“Last year saw the implementation of 76 major rules with a cumulative economic effect of billions of dollars, so it’s easy to grasp that our country needs to rein in rogue federal rulemaking now more than ever,” Collins said in a statement.
The proposal, known as the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny, or REINS, Act, isn’t a new one. The House has passed it three times since the GOP took over in 2011, but it’s never seen a vote in the Senate in the face of veto threats from Obama.
The outgoing president previously argued the bill would “increase business uncertainty, undermine much-needed protections of the American public, and create unnecessary confusion.”
The House is expected to quickly pass the REINS Act when it comes up in the new year, but getting it passed in the Senate won’t be easy. Democrats still have enough votes to filibuster legislation, and with a busy agenda approving Trump’s Cabinet nominees and dissembling Obamacare on the horizon, floor time will be in high demand in the upper chamber come January.
Still, Republican leaders are hopeful they’ll be able to convince red-state Democrats who are up for reelection in 2018 to vote for GOP-authored legislation such as this one.
The House is also expected to take up another bill related to last-minute federal regulations shortly after it reconvenes on Jan. 3.