Republicans Looking for Creative Ways to Curtail Administrative Rulemaking

Last week, Senator Ted Budd (R-NC) introduced a companion version of the Secure Payments Act (S. 4570), which was originally introduced by Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO) early in March, as our credit unions were preparing to Hike the Hill at the National Government Affairs Conference. S. 4570, and its House companion H.R. 7531, would require the Federal Reserve to stop rulemaking on Regulation II and its proposed reductions in debit interchange, and would require a quantitative analysis on the entire Interchange system before the rule could be finalized. The legislation would mandate the Fed to provide a full and formal report to Congress regarding the status of the Interchange system as well as how the proposed changes to Reg II would impact all stakeholders in the Interchange system before taking any further action to reduce Interchange income for financial institutions.  

Additionally, last week, the House passed the REINS Act of 2023 (H.R. 277), which is legislation that would establish a formal process requiring approval of all “major” administrative rules put in place by the Executive Branch or President’s Administration. The “Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act” is a legislative concept that has been enacted in several states, including in Idaho, with the goal of increasing legislative oversight of administrative agency rulemaking with certain financial or economic impacts. The REINS Act would apply to major agency rules, defined in the current Congressional Review Act statute as any agency rule that has a financial implication on the U.S. economy of more than $100 million, would increase consumer prices, and/or a cause significant harm to the U.S. economy. If passed, the legislation would require any administrative rule that meets one of these definitions to gain Congressional approval before the proposed rule would take effect. 

Individual members of Congress who are supportive of the REINS Act see the measure as an opportunity to return legislative powers back to Congress, feeling the body has excessively delegated its Constitutional authority to the Executive Branch through rulemaking. The authors of the REINS Act believe it will provide Congress with appropriate oversight and retain accountability for the content of the laws it passes.  

It is unlikely that the REINS Act will gain traction with the current makeup of the U.S. Senate; however, the GoWest Advocacy team will continue to closely monitor this legislation as well as a growing sentiment in many offices that administrative rules have exceeded Executive Branch authority. As we know, the upcoming elections for the White House and Congressional majorities will have an impact on the future outlook of these types of bills and the future use of administrative rulemaking.       


Posted in Advocacy on the Move, Federal Advocacy.