Until recently, the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act was little more than a big mouthful. When constituents would complain about overregulation, representatives could reply that they cosponsored the REINS Act.
For six years, House Republicans advanced the legislation only for it to fail in the Senate. But now the bill could become a reality, radically transforming both federal bureaucracy and American government. That's in large part thanks to representative turned Indiana Republican Senator Todd Young.
Young quarterbacked the bill in the House after Republican Kentucky Rep. Geoff Davis retired in 2009. Elegant and simple, the REINS Act establishes a legislative veto, requiring Congress to greenlight every major regulation with an economic impact of more than $100 million. The legislation, which recently passed the House, would allow just one chamber to axe an administrative rule.
Introduced three times in the House, it failed three times in the Senate. In the upper chamber, Young's working with Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., to make a unique pitch across the aisle: Reduce a Republican president's executive power and restore legislative authority.
"We need to reassert our prerogative as the legislative branch," the freshly minted senator told the Washington Examiner, "whether we happen to have a Republican or a Democrat president in the White House at any given moment in time."
That might not be that tough of a sell when Democrats consider the possibility of President-elect Trump using an administrative army to shut out Congress. For the minority party, the idea of the president-elect governing by pen and phone can't be comforting.
If Democrats listen, the REINS Act could become the law of the land. It'd be an impressive achievement for the new senator.
Philip Wegmann is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.