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Major legislative actions during the early part of the 115th Congress have undermined the central argument for regulatory reform measures such as the REINS Act, a bill that would require congressional approval of all new major regulations. Proponents of the REINS Act argue that it would make the federal regulatory system more democratic by shifting responsibility for regulatory decisions away from unelected bureaucrats and toward the people’s representatives in Congress. But separate legislative actions in the opening of the 115th Congress only call this argument into question. Congress’s most significant initiatives during this period — its derailed attempts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act and its successful efforts to repeal fifteen regulations under the Congressional Review Act — exhibited a startling lack of democratic deliberation. These repeal efforts reveal how the REINS Act would counterintuitively undermine key democratic elements of the current regulatory process by rendering it less transparent and deliberative.


Administrative law, regulation, rulemaking, oversight, accountability, legislation, delegation, separation of powers, democracy, deliberation, REINS Act, 115th Congress, Affordable Care Act, ACA, repeal and replace, health law, Congressional Review Act

Publication Title

Administrative Law Review Accord

Publication Citation

3 Admin. L. Rev. Accord 43 (2017).