Friday, January 14, 2011 - The Congressional Accountability Act - Opinion: The Congressional Accountability Act

A proposal to ban regulation without representation.


One of the most important political stories of 2011 will be regulation, as the backwash of the outgoing Congress hits the federal agencies and the White House drives its agenda via rule-making rather than democratic consent. Republicans are vowing to thwart these maneuvers, but the coming hostilities might also provide an opening to reform the modern administrative state.

The basic problem is that Congress delegates far too much power to regulators, passing ambiguous laws that convert the agencies into quasi-legislative bodies that aren't politically accountable. Even if President Obama is exploiting this trend like never before, it is hardly new, nor unique to either party. Most politicians support the status quo because, being politicians, they can take credit for popular goals and then blame the bureaucracy for the costs and problems they create.

Yet the Constitution vested Congress with the duty to make laws, not to make vague suggestions about what it might be good for the law to be. And now there is a growing movement to force Members to take responsibility for the laws they pass, and to force Administrations to be accountable for the laws they create through regulation.





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