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Congressman John Ratcliffe

Representing the 4th District of Texas

House passes Rep. Ratcliffe's legislation to drain the regulatory swamp

January 11, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Two bills introduced by Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) passed in the U.S. House of Representatives today to help drain the “regulatory swamp” bred during the Obama Presidency. Ratcliffe introduced both bills – the ALERT Act (H.R. 75) and the Separation of Powers Restoration Act (H.R. 76) – on day one of the new session of Congress.

“The historic election of Donald Trump this November sent a clear message to Washington that the American people don’t want eight more years of the same. And Congress owes it to them to deliver on this mandate,” Ratcliffe said.

“That’s why – right off the bat – I reintroduced two key pieces of legislation that will help heal our nation from the damage done by the immense regulatory overreach imposed under President Obama’s watch. I’m glad these measures passed in the House, and I’m hopeful they’ll receive just as much support in the Senate.”

The All Economic Regulations are Transparent (ALERT) Act (H.R. 75) blocks the administration from implementing federal regulations without first providing the public with detailed information for at least six months before they go into effect. Current law requires the administration to release an update twice a year on the regulations being developed by federal agencies. Yet under President Obama, these updates have been late—if they have been issued at all.

The Separation of Powers Restoration Act (SOPRA) (H.R. 76) seeks restore three co-equal branches of government by abolishing the doctrine that has often enabled administrative agencies to interpret laws to mean whatever they want. It accomplishes this by overturning a 1984 Supreme Court decision (Chevron v. NRDC) which ruled that courts should, in many cases, defer to administrative agencies’ interpretations of “ambiguous” statutes written by Congress.

“My bills that passed in the House today don’t only clean up the mess left behind by President Obama’s swath of unelected bureaucrats, but they also seek to ensure that such a huge outpouring of burdensome regulations won’t be allowed to happen ever again,” Ratcliffe said.

“The ALERT Act does this by demanding the transparency our regulators have been failing – or blatantly refusing – to provide without consequence, so the American people actually have time to comply or object before they go into effect. The Separation of Powers Restoration Act does this by rebalancing the scales that have been tilted in favor of regulators, so they can no longer write, implement and be the judge of their own rules without proper oversight.”

H.R. 75 and H.R. 76 passed the House as Titles II and V of House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte’s Regulatory Accountability Act of 2017 (H.R. 5). The bills are now headed to the Senate for consideration.

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