CALL TO ACTION for the REINS Act & Midnight Rules Act:
Friends, if you're looking for a federal issue with far-reaching consequences, THIS IS IT. The House could vote on these bills as soon as tomorrow so time is critical.
On Thursday, 1/5/17 the House is going to vote on a bill called the REINS Act (Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny). It is an unmitigated disaster and needs to be killed. It is very pro-business, anti-government, anti-science, anti-oversight legislation. In fact, this was the goal of the Citizens United case. It is being supported by Koch Brothers, the oil/gas industry, and the chemical industry. It is very difficult to understand how this law would work - but its implications are to essentially shut down the EPA, SEC banking laws, and eliminate too many consumer protections.
Under the new proposed REINS Act, when an agency is ready to “publish regulations,” Congress must approve it within 70 days or they don’t go into effect. What does that mean? It means that Congress can essentially make all agency work irrelevant by doing NOTHING. It means that Congress can ignore the experts, the scientists, the engineers simply because their constituents - corporations - don’t like the burden of the regulations.
I’ll explain what this means better through examples. Congress passes a law on invasive species in the Great Lakes. EPA is charged with executing it. EPA goes through a rigorous regulatory process, consults with environmentalists, water experts, zoologists, marine biologists and finds a way to get rid of the Asian Carp. They spend two years working on this plan. They hold public hearings where the shipping industry and the gaming industry complain about how much this will cost them to implement. The EPA then goes back and does a cost/benefit analysis and decides on final regulations. Publishes them. It takes 2 years. If the shipping industry doesn’t comply, the EPA can assess fines. NOW… after REINS ACT, the EPA publishes final regulations and it goes back to congress. Congress has 70 days to okay it or it dies. The shipping industry, which contributes heavily to the Republicans want it gone. So, Paul Ryan sends it to committee. It dies. No regulations. Asian Carp is swimming happily in Lake Michigan and destroying the lakes ...
THIS CAN HAPPEN FOR EVERY SINGLE AGENCY AND EVERY SINGLE PIECE OF REGULATION. Department of Commerce, Labor, Energy, Defense, Justice, Education, Interior, Transportation, Agriculture, Health and Human Services (ACA/"obamacare"), EPA, SEC, EEOC, FDA, FEC, Homeland Security, HUD, Veterans Affairs. Republicans have been trying to pass this bill since Citizens United. However, they never had the votes to override a promised Obama veto. Now, however, they won’t have a veto to override. The week of January 2nd, one of the VERY FIRST PIECES OF LEGISLATION being introduced to the new house is the REINS Act.
** Please take a moment to make a quick phone call this afternoon or first thing in the morning. **
-->Tell your Congressional Representatives to protect public health and safety by voting NO on the REINS Act and Midnight Rules Act.
Both bills pose a dangerous threat to important federal protections that safeguard our food supply, consumer products, clean air and water, financial practices, and workplace safety.
The REINS Act in particular would hand unprecedented power to a single branch of Congress. It would replace our transparent process for creating public safeguards with backroom deal-making by members of Congress and corporate lobbyists.
Congress already has mechanisms in place to engage with federal agencies and the rulemaking process. These new bills give Congress—even a small group of lawmakers in only one branch—new power to void safeguards from federal agencies.
Under the REINS Act, members wouldn’t even have to go on the record with a public vote. They could hide behind cowardly inaction and still overturn protections they don’t like.
Imagine a post-Trump world where Republicans return to only controlling the House--with REINS they would have the power to single-handedly void EPA protections without even taking a public vote. Simply let the 70-day "authorization" period expire, and the protection dies.
Right now the best place to put our efforts is House of Representatives. Senate hasn't indicated they will take this up just yet, though I would expect they will once the house votes. I'm guessing the Senate won't vote till after Inauguration--otherwise the bill goes to Obama. Calling our local House members, and writing letters to the editor in local papers--especially about the dangerous and unconstitutional REINS Act.
-->Please make a quick call today. The link to phone numbers is below. Here’s a sample script:
“Hi, I’m a constituent of Representative ________, and I’d like to leave an important message for her.”
“I’m calling to urge her to vote NO on both the REINS Act and the Midnight Rules Act when they come up for a vote next week, and to let her know I’ll be watching her votes carefully.”
“These bills would subvert our Constitutional process, and they pose a dangerous threat to federal protections that safeguard our health and safety.”
The friendly staffer may ask for your name or address so you can receive a response. That's it!
-->Find your Representative's contact info here: