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Congress Must Take the REINS to Help Grow Our Economy

March 15, 2016
Press Release
Op-ed Written by Congressman Lee Zeldin (NY-01)

During my first 14 months in Congress, I have constantly heard from business owners on Long Island sharing stories about how various examples of bureaucratic red tape out of Washington has made it increasingly difficult to create more good paying, private sector jobs. The Department of Labor “Fiduciary Rule,” the EPA’s effort to put the motorsports and custom car industry out of business, and the attempt of federal regulators to impose overzealous Dodd-Frank regulations on auto lenders are just three of many new federal agency regulations that harm the business climate on Long Island and throughout our nation. As each new rule is passed, we are reminded of why it is so important for Congress to pass the Regulations for the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act (H.R. 427).

Under the REINS Act, every major rule or regulation with an economic effect of $100 million or more annually would be required to be specifically approved by the House and Senate, in addition to the President, before the rule takes effect. This legislation is about smart policy and balance of power. Here are three brief examples of why the REINS Act is so important:

Example #1: Many Long Islanders, when seeking something as critical as life insurance or retirement savings advice, want to go to a trusted broker who is a part of their local community. Planning for retirement and managing a family’s investment portfolio to save for college or buy a new home is an essential piece of the American dream. The Department of Labor, through its “fiduciary rule,” is shutting down that dream by overregulating independent financial advisors and life insurance brokers out of business. By imposing regulations and fees meant for larger, multi-billion dollar Wall Street firms, the one-size-fits all approach proposed by federal regulators would kill an industry that is run by small entrepreneurs and built on personal relationships. By the Labor Department’s own admission, in 2010, those individuals who did not seek or have access to investment advice suffered over $100 billion in financial losses through investment mistakes, which could have easily been avoided with the appropriate level of consultation. Saving for retirement is of crucial importance to American families and access to professional financial advice should not be hindered by an unnecessary regulation put in place by unelected agency bureaucrats creating rules that carry the force of law.

Example #2: The Clean Air Act has been a resounding success and in Congress I have been an outspoken advocate for clean air and clean water on Long Island. The EPA is attempting to go around Congress, ignoring the Constitution by creating new interpretations of this law, which would hurt small and medium sized businesses. Current rules proposed by the EPA would effectively shut down the motorsports and car modification industry by imposing the same level of regulations meant for power plants and other major industries. By banning certain modifications made to cars and motorcycles, and applying these misguided regulations retroactively, hobbyists, who have invested countless time and money into their cars, would suddenly be in violation of a set of federal regulations that were never vetted by their representatives in Congress. Small and medium sized businesses on Long Island, like American Racing Headers, that supply specialty automotive parts to customers nationwide, are already seeing a reduction in business as a direct result of the threats surrounding these new rules. 

Example #3: The indirect auto loan market just surpassed $1 trillion, making it one of the most essential, and competitive financial markets in our economy. In a misguided change of policy, based on flawed statistics, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is attempting to shut down transparency in the auto lending market by mandating new standards that they falsely believe will increase fairness in the market. Consumers on Long Island should not be cut off from needed credit due to arbitrary government regulations. A transparent and competitive auto lending market means consumers will get the best rates, but bureaucrats in Washington want to impose strict Dodd Frank financial regulations meant for Wall Street that would shut down the indirect auto loan market so essential to main street Long Island. 

What has always made America so great has been the opportunity to succeed through hard work and dedication, but unfortunately today, economic opportunity is being stripped away with oppressive taxes and burdensome red tape on America’s businesses. President Obama’s first seven years have brought forth 468 regulations deemed “economically significant rules”, and that’s with just under a year still to go. (CEI) The Fiduciary Rule, the attack on the motorsports industry by the EPA, and the CFPB’s attempted overregulation of auto-lending, are just three of the rules that have made it harder for business owners to succeed in today’s economy.

To address this issue, I proudly voted for the REINS Act when it passed the House last year, as well as other essential pieces of legislation to shut-down job killing red tape. This critical legislation would give Congress more oversight over the most broad and harmful regulations being implemented by federal agencies. Allowing the executive branch to implement major regulations, without Congressional oversight or input, will only further hurt the ability of our job creators to expand and create more good paying jobs. Americans should demand that Congress take the REINS to help grow our economy.