Congress letting bureaucrats make the laws

Another practice in which Congress evades its constitutional responsibilities:  Passing laws that consist largely of vague frameworks and enabling bureaucrats from the executive branch to fill in the blanks with the substance of the law.  George Will on a bill that would put regulations back under Congressional scrutiny:

John Marini of the University of Nevada, Reno, writes in the Claremont Review of Books that the 2,500-page Obamacare legislation exemplifies current lawmaking, which serves principally to expand the administrative state’s unfettered discretion. Congress merely established the legal requirements necessary to create a vast executive-branch administrative apparatus to formulate rules governing health care’s 18 percent of the economy.

The Hudson Institute’s Chris DeMuth, in an essay for National Affairs quarterly, notes that Congress often contents itself with enacting “velleities” such as the wish in the 900-page Dodd-Frank financial reform act that “all consumers have access to markets for consumer financial products and services . . . [that are] fair, transparent, and competitive.” How many legislators voting for the bill even read this language? And how many who did understood that they were authorizing federal rulemakers to micromanage overdraft fees? In Dodd-Frank, Obamacare and much else, the essential lawmaking is done off Capitol Hill by unaccountable bureaucratic rulemaking.

via A check on the regulatory state – The Washington Post.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Susan

    Here’s another disturbing story:

    State Department Purges Section on Religious Freedom from Its Human Rights Reports
    http://cnsnews.com/news/article/state-department-purges-section-religious-freedom-its-human-rights-reports

    excerpt:

    The new human rights reports–purged of the sections that discuss the status of religious freedom in each of the countries covered–are also the human rights reports that cover the period that covered the Arab Spring and its aftermath.

    Thus, the reports do not provide in-depth coverage of what has happened to Christians and other religious minorities in predominantly Muslim countries in the Middle East that saw the rise of revolutionary movements in 2011 in which Islamist forces played an instrumental role.

  • Susan

    Here’s another disturbing story:

    State Department Purges Section on Religious Freedom from Its Human Rights Reports
    http://cnsnews.com/news/article/state-department-purges-section-religious-freedom-its-human-rights-reports

    excerpt:

    The new human rights reports–purged of the sections that discuss the status of religious freedom in each of the countries covered–are also the human rights reports that cover the period that covered the Arab Spring and its aftermath.

    Thus, the reports do not provide in-depth coverage of what has happened to Christians and other religious minorities in predominantly Muslim countries in the Middle East that saw the rise of revolutionary movements in 2011 in which Islamist forces played an instrumental role.

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    Congress has to delegate lawmaking to bureaucrats. Congress is much too busy for that little stuff; all its time is taken up by its primary function of demagoguing and lying about political opponents.

    Govern the country? That’s not what we send them there to do!

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    Congress has to delegate lawmaking to bureaucrats. Congress is much too busy for that little stuff; all its time is taken up by its primary function of demagoguing and lying about political opponents.

    Govern the country? That’s not what we send them there to do!

  • DonS

    The REINS Act seems like a good idea. It sounds like it provides that regulations deemed to have an impact of over $100 million on the economy must go back to Congress for approval, and if Congress doesn’t approve them within 70 days, they die. I’m for anything that slows down the pace of the regulatory state, knowing that once regulations are in effect they are almost impossible to root out. Off the top of my head, I don’t see any separation of powers problems, since the regulations only implement Congress’s statutory will, and Congress should have the right to ensure that new regulations fairly do that.

    This is only a partial solution, however. What really needs to happen is a more considered approach to drafting statutes, so that they don’t leave so much mischief opportunity for agendized regulators, and so that courts understand that they are to interpret regulations more narrowly in view of the statutory language.

  • DonS

    The REINS Act seems like a good idea. It sounds like it provides that regulations deemed to have an impact of over $100 million on the economy must go back to Congress for approval, and if Congress doesn’t approve them within 70 days, they die. I’m for anything that slows down the pace of the regulatory state, knowing that once regulations are in effect they are almost impossible to root out. Off the top of my head, I don’t see any separation of powers problems, since the regulations only implement Congress’s statutory will, and Congress should have the right to ensure that new regulations fairly do that.

    This is only a partial solution, however. What really needs to happen is a more considered approach to drafting statutes, so that they don’t leave so much mischief opportunity for agendized regulators, and so that courts understand that they are to interpret regulations more narrowly in view of the statutory language.

  • Random Lutheran

    Better yet: ban either ban bills with multiple provisions, or make congress vote on each portion of a bill. Congress has found ways to give its members plausible deniability when it comes to laws that are passed; let’s make them as responsible for their actions as possible.

  • Random Lutheran

    Better yet: ban either ban bills with multiple provisions, or make congress vote on each portion of a bill. Congress has found ways to give its members plausible deniability when it comes to laws that are passed; let’s make them as responsible for their actions as possible.

  • Fws

    Interesting.

    Imam realizing that this is how Brasil ..um… “functions”. It looks like rule by decree rather than law. No one is really certain what the law is. There is a lack of transparency. Too many laws so none are enforced.

    Sounds like the usa is headed in the same direction.

  • Fws

    Interesting.

    Imam realizing that this is how Brasil ..um… “functions”. It looks like rule by decree rather than law. No one is really certain what the law is. There is a lack of transparency. Too many laws so none are enforced.

    Sounds like the usa is headed in the same direction.


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