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Congressman John Ratcliffe

Representing the 4th District of Texas

Rep. Ratcliffe’s landmark legislation to restore separation of powers passes House

July 12, 2016
Press Release
Reverses power grab by executive branch

WASHINGTON – Rep. John Ratcliffe’s (R-Texas) legislation to reverse Constitutional erosion and stop overreach by administrative agencies passed the U.S. House of Representatives today by a vote of 240 to 171.

The Separation of Powers Restoration Act (SOPRA) of 2016 (H.R. 4768) seeks to restore three co-equal branches of government by abolishing the doctrine that has enabled administrative agencies to create rules that have the force of law.

“For too long Americans have lived in a regulatory state where unelected bureaucrats are leveraging a 1984 Supreme Court decision to regulate far beyond the bounds originally defined by the Constitution. It’s time that we put an end to this ongoing abuse of the separation of powers,” Ratcliffe said.

“I’m grateful for the broad support this legislation received, because when the Constitution is defended, it’s the American people who win. They are rightfully sick and tired of faceless, unelected bureaucrats engaging in de-facto lawmaking to make their lives more difficult. This bill says that tipping the scales in favor of the regulators is no longer acceptable.”

Ratcliffe’s bill overturns 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. H.R. 4768 would amend the Administrative Procedure Act to require courts to conduct a “de novo” – or from scratch – review of all relevant questions of law, rather than leaving such interpretation up to the whims of federal bureaucrats.

A Senate version of the bill, introduced by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) has 12 cosponsors, including Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).

Click here to view Ratcliffe’s full floor speech on SOPRA. Click here to view Ratcliffe’s joint video with House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) on SOPRA.

Ratcliffe also grilled Attorney General Loretta Lynch Tuesday on her decision to not pursue criminal charges against Hillary Clinton for mishandling highly classified national security materials. Click here to view Ratcliffe’s exchange with Lynch.