Rep. Ratcliffe Introduces Bill to Rein in Power of Federal Bureaucrats
Washington, DC, March 17, 2016
Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) introduced legislation today to rein in the power of federal administrative agencies and to ensure that unelected bureaucrats don’t have the ability to effectively create laws.
The Separation of Powers Restoration Act (SOPRA) of 2016 (H.R. 4768), seeks to reduce the accumulation of power attained by regulatory agencies by restoring the power of the courts to interpret the law, instead of deferring to the interpretation of federal administrative agencies.
“The constituents I represent aren’t just frustrated with the enormous quantity of regulations being rolled out by unelected federal bureaucrats – they’re fed up with the lack of accountability administrative agencies have when they make all these rules out of thin air,” Ratcliffe said.
“For too long, federal regulators have been allowed to run free and loose in their interpretation of the laws that Congress writes, resulting in a dangerous and unconstitutional culmination of power. The government works for the people – not the other way around – and I’m proud to help lead this effort to ensure the separation of powers is respected as our Founding Fathers intended.”
Ratcliffe’s bill overturns a 1984 Supreme Court decision 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 new – review of all relevant questions of law, rather than leaving such interpretation up to federal bureaucrats.
“We’ve already seen unelected bureaucrats try to tell people what kind of light bulbs they can buy, attempt to regulate puddles in people’s backyards and fail immensely at taking over Americans’ healthcare. We must ensure the integrity of our three co-equal branches of government, and this legislation will stop administrative agencies from taking powers the Constitution does not give them,” Ratcliffe said.
H.R. 4768 was introduced with the support of House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), Regulatory Reform Subcommittee Chairman Tom Marino (R-Pa.) and 43 additional original co-sponsors in the House of Representatives. The Senate version of the bill was introduced by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah), with 8 additional co-sponsors.