Op-Ed: REINS Act needs support to pass
The House may only be weeks away from a vote to fix the country’s regulatory system and restore the basic constitutional principle that Congress – which for decades has gotten away with passing broad, vague laws that shift all the real decision making to bureaucrats – will again be responsible for legislating.
The bill, HR 427, known as the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act, didn’t come from any of the think tanks or so-called experts in Washington: it came from a veteran, former judge, and longtime political activist named Lloyd Rogers in Alexandria, Kentucky.
In 2009 Rogers went to meet with his then-congressman, Geoff Davis. Both were outraged about an EPA stormwater management consent decree that cost the three northern Kentucky counties in a consolidated sewer a BILLION dollars, doubling water fees. Rogers, having studied the Constitution, didn’t understand how the EPA could double his taxes without so much as a vote in Congress.
Rogers asked Davis: “How come you guys can’t vote on these things?” He handed Davis a piece of paper with a paragraph of text. It said:
In adherence to the U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Section 1 “All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.” All rules, regulations, or mandates that require citizens, state or local government financial expenditures must first be approved by the U.S. Congress before they can become effective.
Davis took the idea back to Washington and huddled with his key advisers to develop the simple idea into a robust, workable piece of legislation. That idea became the REINS Act, and it has passed the House twice, but both times was killed by Harry Reid in the Senate without even allowing a vote.
This year can be different, with a Republican Senate. We need to put a full court press on for a strong House vote and to demand a Senate vote.
A wounded four-year Navy veteran, Rogers was a Disabled American Veterans commander and a Veterans of Foreign Wars commander. His political hero is Thomas Jefferson. After Geoff Davis retired Rogers joined the staff of his successor, Rep. Thomas Massie, as director of veterans affairs.
Throughout his life, Rogers has been guided by integrity. “My dad died when I was young,” he told me a few years ago when I interviewed him for my book. “The man who was in charge of the orphanage, he used to be in there when he was a kid. He came back and he ran it, and he was a very conservative fellow. And he used to teach us: if there’s nothing else anybody can ever say about you when you die, they can write on your tombstone that you were honest.”
Rogers came to politics late in life, focusing on his career as a supervisor and an engineer with Cincinnati Bell after his military service.
“I never voted until I was 40. I never cared. I was interested in other things,” he said. “I never get mad at people who say, ‘Hey, I didn’t vote,’ because I went there at one time. So I understood what I should have done. And since then, I have been an activist, trying to reinstitute what our forefathers meant this government to be.
Rogers was a tireless campaigner for Rand Paul in 2010, organizing DAV and VFW units around the state and putting up more than 140 Rand Paul signs. Rogers was the Campbell County chairman for the Paul campaign, and it was through the campaign that he connected with the tea party.
Senator Paul told me that he and Rogers seemed to “hit it right off.” Paul noted that Rogers “is known for being independent-minded,” and is “a gentleman with an incredible amount of energy to have done all this in his mid-seventies.”
Senator Paul is now the lead sponsor of the REINS Act on the Senate side, where the Senate version, S. 226, is now up to 35 cosponsors. Not enough, yet, but a great start.
Thanks for all you do,
Phil Kerpen, President
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