Legislative Alert

Letter Opposing Legislation That Would Make It Nearly Impossible for Government Agencies to Make Meaningful Rules

On behalf of the AFL-CIO, I urge you to oppose H.R. 277, Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act of 2023 (REINS Act), which is scheduled for floor action this week. The REINS Act is an extreme measure that would make it virtually impossible for agencies to issue any meaningful rules, threatening the health and safety of workers and the public.

The REINS Act would radically alter the regulatory process by requiring Congress to vote to approve all major rules before they can go into effect. Rules not affirmatively acted on by both the House and the Senate within 70 legislative days would die. Under the REINS Act, politics not scientific judgment or expertise would dictate all regulatory actions. Corporate opposition and influence would swap the public’s interest and block needed protections.

The REINS Act would cripple a regulatory process that already causes excessive delays in the issuance of crucial worker and public protections. For example, the 2010 Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA’s) construction safety standard on cranes and derricks took 10 years to finalize, even though this rule had unanimous support from industry and labor. OSHA’s 2016 silica standard, which protects workers from deadly silica dust and prevents 700 deaths a year, took nearly 19 years. Under REINS, Congressional inaction could simply kill such commonsense life-saving rules.

The legislation is impractical, unworkable and unnecessary. Congress has neither the time nor expertise to consider and act on detailed, technical and scientific issues. Moreover, Congress already has the authority to disapprove rules through the Congressional Review Act or block the implementation by withholding funding.

The REINS Act represents a grave threat to our government’s ability to protect workers and the public from harm. The AFL-CIO urges you to oppose this dangerous bill.

William Samuel
Director, Government Affairs