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Empowered by President-elect Donald Trump, Republicans lawmakers are moving to gut the vast regulatory powers federal agencies enjoyed during the Obama administration.
On Wednesday, the GOP-controlled House passed the Regulatory Accountability Act which puts a ceiling on the regulatory costs coming out of Washington by instructing federal agencies to craft the "least expensive" rules they possibly can. It passed 238-183 on a largely party line vote with five Democrats crossing the aisle.
This would give Congress more control over federal agencies.
“Some of the most significant decisions in Washington --- those that most affect the lives of the public --- are made by those who don’t stand for election,” House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said.
“What happens when the EPA imposes rules that deprive people of their property rights? Or when the Department of Health and Human Services tries to force nuns to violate their religion? Or when the VA perpetuates a system that lets veterans die while they wait for care?” McCarthy asked.
“The people can’t vote out the bureaucrats who write rules at the EPA or at the Department of Health and Human Services. They can’t vote out bad leaders at the VA,” he added. “And these bureaucrats know it.”
Regulatory reform is a key part of Trump’s economic agenda, and Republican lawmakers are working quickly to reshape the way in which regulations are developed before the president-elect takes office next Friday.
McCarthy indicated the House would begin repealing specific regulations after the inauguration.