Federal agencies have started to behave as if they, not Congress, get to make the laws of this nation. The Constitution is very clear on the lawmaking process: Congress makes the law, the Executive enforces the law, and the Judiciary ensures that the laws are constitutional.
|This Week In CongressThis week, I introduced two critical pieces of bipartisan legislation for California that advance farm mechanization and give California homeowners assistance in preparing for natural disasters. The first piece of legislation, cosponsored by Reps. Carbajal (D-CA), Max Miller (R-OH), and Spanberger (D-VA), establishes a Specialty Crop Mechanization and Automation Research and Development Program within the USDA to support specialty crop mechanization and automation projects. American agriculture is world-famous for its efficiency and innovation. Unfortunately, America’s agriculture sector faces many continuous challenges including rising input costs and a low availability workforce. This bill will direct critical funding and resources to boost research and modernization efforts that can automate, or at the very least mechanize, some of the more physically demanding tasks that farmers are having trouble finding and retaining labor for. America’s food security depends on our nation’s ability to produce sufficient quantities of food and to not cede it to imports.
The second bill, cosponsored by Reps Thompson (D-CA) and Rouzer (R-NC), the Disaster Mitigation and Tax Parity Act, will exempt state-based grants that homeowners receive for hardening their homes against natural disasters from federal taxes. A companion bill in the Senate was led by Senators Feinstein (D-CA), Padilla (D-CA), Tillis (R-NC), and Cassidy (R-LA). California homeowners who are trying to harden their homes against natural disasters do not deserve being saddled down by additional taxes just because they received funds through a state-based program rather than through federally funded programs. Parity between Federal and State programs is common sense. Under current law when the federal government gives funds to help protect homes and small businesses from wind damage, earthquakes or fire, those grants are tax free. However, when states give grants for the same purpose, those funds are federally taxed. That makes no sense. If we want people to harden their homes to reduce potential damage and avoid costs of federal disasters we should want every dollar to be put to use rather than being rerouted to the federal government in taxes. In addition, the House passed several pieces of legislation that aim to curtail the power of federal agencies and the bureaucrats that staff them to make up laws and force them on the American people without the consent of Congress or the power of law. The most consequential bill passed this week was the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny, or REINS Act. This bill requires federal agency rules and regulations that carry an economic impact of $100 million or more to be subjected to Congressional oversight, review and explicit approval. The REINS Act is the first step in Congress reclaiming its long-surrendered lawmaking powers that have over time been relinquished to unelected, unaccountable executive agencies such as the ATF, EPA, Army Corps of Engineers, DHS, HHS, etc. These federal agencies have started to behave as if they, not Congress, get to make the laws of this nation. The Constitution is very clear on the lawmaking process: Congress makes the law, the Executive enforces the law, and the Judiciary ensures that the laws are constitutional. The REINS Act is a necessary check on out-of-control bureaucracies and allows us to begin returning to a constitutional lawmaking process once again