Heritage is pushing for Congress to use the Congressional Review Act to crack down on federal agencies’ power and undo Obama administration excesses.

Too often, government agencies in the executive branch bypass the legislative process and issue rules with the force of law–and then enforce them on the American people. This administrative state is far from the government the Founders imagined.

The CRA is one of Congress’s best options to reduce the excesses of the administrative state. It allows lawmakers to invalidate agency rulings with a simple majority vote.

“The CRA provides Congress with an opportunity to invalidate an agency rule while satisfying the Article I Bicameralism and Presentment requirements,” Heritage scholar Paul Larkin explains in a detailed report on the CRA’s inner workings.

At an informal working group at Heritage earlier this month, experts from Heritage and other conservative groups helped Capitol Hill staff understand the scope of the law and how it can advance conservative reforms, the Wall Street Journal explained.

To further advance this idea, Heritage is hosting an event next week on “Reawakening the Congressional Review Act.”

Do you believe federal agencies have too much power?

Comments (69)

Marcella Dellaposta - February 17, 2017

Absolutely they do and they are not above being bribed! Most agencies should be completely done away with. The Founding Fathers meant for the Federal government to be small and power remain in each state. The way it is now the evil doing money boys have been controlling it for years!

Mrs. Phyllis Eix - February 17, 2017

WAY too much!
Rein them in and scale them down, please.

Gidget Todd - February 17, 2017

Absolutely! Way too much…!

Maggie McMullan - February 17, 2017

This is a good way for Congress to shirk its duties. They don´t have to take the flak for unpopular rulings and can always blame the agency, They don´t have to take any blame. Is it written in the Constitution that Congress should set up these agencies? Why not give a more active role to the ¨oversight¨committees?

Donna Donaldson - February 17, 2017

The states should have the power. Federal Government should stay out of everyone’s business. If we let the Federal Gov’t get any bigger it will turn into a tyrannical system.

JR - February 17, 2017

The Federal Government impacts our daily lives more than we realize and needs to be curbed to a minimum. Various departments have made our lives miserable like the EPA, Education, and Energy. Prior AGs not enforcing existing laws and playing politics and Homeland Security playing Fast and Furious scams. Bring accountability and prosecute those who break the laws.

Cindy Rettig - February 17, 2017

I wholeheartedly agree with JR

Robert Gianino - February 17, 2017

Yes. Abdication, by Congress, of legislative responsibility to the federal bureaucracy is probably the single greatest threat to our Constitutional rights. There is no recourse to administrative justice. Administrative law is the way a political minority can circumvent the will of the people.

Janelle Nowell - February 17, 2017

Federal agencies have too much power if unlawful immigrants are working in any agency . Even one unlawful immigrant can create fraud and other crimes in the agency. With the CRA, how will they bring about a vote to invalidate an agency regulation? Does the CRA watch all new regulations made by every agency and analyze them and take a vote to invalidate them or not?

James Schultz - February 17, 2017

Bureaucrats have been running the government for too long; they are too powerful and there are too many of them. In my opinion “draining the swamp” really means getting rid of a lot of them. .

Judi Bowen - February 17, 2017

YES they most certainly do!!! How did this happen in America? It’s time we took our country back by straightening the mess out!

James E Anderson - February 17, 2017

I believe this is the biggest threat there is to our Constitution.

Pat & Paula Hamper - February 17, 2017

The laws should be made only by the law makers.

Roy Taylor - February 17, 2017

I believe most federal agencies have no basis in the Constitution to exist in the first place. The “Commerce Clause”, for one, has been abused by Congress and the federal agencies under the executive beginning in the late 1800’s. If we are going to be true Constitutional Conservatives, as we claim, we can’t just try to reign in at the margins federal agencies, we must dismantle them and send their “work” back to the individual states. And once sent back to the states, the federal govt must aggressively oversee the states, and crack down on unconstitutional laws and regulations, when the states overstep the bounds of the Constitution as drafted in its original form and intent. I live in CA and know all too well not only the out-of-control federal govt but also the out-of-control state govt in CA. We need relief out here, and we need it quickly.

William Perkins - February 17, 2017

It’s misplaced power! Congress has been hiding behind federal agencies for too many years. Congress has failed its legislative duties and convienently allowed federal agencies to expand its regulatory tentacles. Our economy has struggled at a snails pace and we are comforted by the soothing balm of “this is the new normal”. Hopefully it’s not too late to save this great country.

Jon Addison - February 17, 2017

Absolutely, time to slash post 1996 rulings and Fedral Agencies in half. Time to once and for all for the allowing of firing of civil service employees!

Rick Nadler - February 17, 2017

ABSOLUTELY!!! Congress has abdicated its responsibilities for far too long. We should expect Congress to accept responsibility and be accountable for every major regulation we are burdened with. It’s unconscionable for them to hide behind unelected bureaucrats and let them do the dirty work…

Tim Myers - February 17, 2017

YES!
These Bureaucrats get drunk on the power of that Agency. Congress has to write appropriate Laws to govern how these Agencies work, unfortunately we do do not want Laws so detailed that they end being hundreds of pages long. BUT, detailed enough to limit runaway Bureaucrats. If there is a financial burden to individuals (a pond on one’s property becomes governed by the EPA and Internal waterways), have these rules become reviewed by someone other than a LAWYER. Every law should be written so that non-lawyers can understand them. The Northwest Ordinance comes to mind!

paul simon - February 17, 2017

drain the SWAMP

Mike Riggs - February 17, 2017

We definitely need the requirement that federal agency action be evaluated for a dollar impact and anything over a certain dollar amount must be approved by Congress. That would at least slow this epidemic down.

Dennis Fowler - February 17, 2017

There’s too much independence and authority (a free hand) given or taken , unimpeded, by federal agencies. In effect, they write law and implement their own rules. Limitations and controls need to be placed to prevent agencies powers to act against the rights of citizens.

Don Glitschka - February 17, 2017

YES! I question if some of them should even exist. The work of most of these agencies should/could be done at the state level if really needed at all.

J R Cole - February 17, 2017

Definitely. Follow the Constitution!

Jerry Hinderman - February 17, 2017

Yes!!! I believe federal agencies have too much power! Is there any doubt? Congress should commit to ongoing oversight of all federal agencies, with the poser to do whatever is necessary to improve accountability and efficiency within those agencies.

William Bryan - February 17, 2017

Way to much. Thank God for the Heritage Foundation. Clear, honest thinkers who have common sense in play.

Pat - February 17, 2017

Yes! Too many Federal agencies have become Gestapo like organizations that can use their power to “punish” those they do not like or disagree with. I.E. the IRS and those individuals or companies that supported the TEA Party.

Charles Fickling - February 17, 2017

Not only are they too powerful, they are overloaded with beuracrats who are more concerned with their on interests than the welfare of the American people.

Timothy R Eby - February 17, 2017

Absolutely, and that’s just within the established bureaucracy. I am at least as concerned about the shadow government headed by the czars. Please expose how obama’s czars have operated below the surface, if they are still in place, and what damage they can still inflict even if they are now gone. They get now exposure at ll.

Tim Craig - February 17, 2017

Definitely, hence the Founders included the 10th Amendment to the Constitution. That says it all and it says it succinctly.

Linda D. - February 17, 2017

You only have to look at the fact that they go into public service making a living wage and come out multiMillionaires. Temptations from lobbyist and entrenched politicians are too great. Yes, there is too much power centralized in Washington. Term limits is the way to bring power back to the states as our Founders intended.

Timothy R. Buttner - February 17, 2017

Cut the bureaucracy and get rid of the embeds. Start with Education, and continue with Treasury (esp. IRS), and the EPA. Put those folks to use tracking down illegal felons…

Judy Brown - February 17, 2017

They definitely have too much power and the individual states should make decisions based on what is best for them, not some corrupt beaucrat deciding we all have to follow their stupid policy.

Jerry Metcalf - February 17, 2017

Yes tie their hands. Reduce personnel, reduce budget and salaries.

James P. Smith, Sr - February 17, 2017

Too much power, yes, but that power comes with agency funding. I believe funding for the EPA, for example, is excessive, which permits some sub-organizations within EPA, etc., to engage in mischievous activity, such as writing abusive, unnecessary rules. Cure: cut funding by say, 20%, then have abusive agencies defend why further cuts should not be made – but make sure cuts are not made to must-have elements. The House controls the funding.

Dr. John R. Vasko - February 17, 2017

Without a doubt!

scott - February 17, 2017

It is time to impose a MAXIMUM wage for all public sector employees and that maximum is tied to the median income of the private sector tax payers who provide their income. Military is excluded but all public sector cannot be paid more than the median income for those who pay their wages..tax payers.. that will drain the swamp faster than you think!

Peter Smith - February 17, 2017

Absolutely. is there any aspect of our lives beyond the reach of the administrative state as not functioning? The founders did NOT intend it to grow this way. Get out the trimmers.

William F. Miller - February 17, 2017

This power to hide illegal legislation must be stopped, and the CRA is needed now as the first step. A change in Civil Service rules to allow removal of long time politically appointed staffers in all agencies would be step 2. The next step wold take longer but is the most important one: Term Limits!

Nelson Whipple - February 17, 2017

The Agencys have only the powers given to them by Congress. It is up to Congress to take responsibility and correct the errors of the past. The Administration has to help and encourage and rescind the powers it has granted. Drain the Swamp!!

Paul D’Aigle - February 17, 2017

Most agencies…absolutely! Without a doubt the IRS, Immigration, EPA and EPA.

Lenny - February 17, 2017

Yes they are WAY OUT OF CONTROL!!

G. Allan Barnes - February 17, 2017

That’s putting it mildly, but yes, too much power. They write their own rules – not Congress. Reduce amount and size of each. Example: look how many spy agencies there are, and yet we are no safer today than we were when the NSA was formed by executive order. It is said that, the path to hell is paved with good intentions, and the NSA & the EPA are prime examples.

Rudolph K. Muzzarelli - February 17, 2017

Congress is responsible for making law. That does not include any other agency or branch of government. Congress has allowed agencies and the judiciary to circumnavigate Congressional responsibilities. There should be no law or rule that bypasses Congress. Congress should not pass any law or rule that does not equally apply to Congress. Equality under the law must include everyone or it is not equality.

Terry Branham - February 17, 2017

Absolutely too much power and Congress needs to rein them in with a Oversight panel of Congressional staffers that work for Congress if Congressmen and women can’t handle it. Stop the overreach NOW

Ann Hilburn - February 17, 2017

Yes, I definitely feel that these executive departments have too much power. They have no authority to pass a law/ruling and then enforce what they enacted. That is Congress’ job.

PATSY THOMAS - February 17, 2017

I think term limits would bring power back to the people (to the states). Pick the state you want to live in.

Sonie Thompson - February 17, 2017

This question is music to my ears…..yes, absolutely, like the EPA and many others. Please look at each and every one and downsize government. Give power back to the states, and make congressional committees review each and every agency. This is why we have a congress!!

Dan - February 17, 2017

Absolutely!!! Congress must have courage to make laws instead of relying unconstitutionally on the Executive Branch as well as the Supreme Court creating laws.

John Humiston - February 17, 2017

Yes. The public feels agencies, e.g. FDA, are insensitive to the public’s needs, and in fact make their own rules in defiance of congressional authority and oversight. Congress should boldly rein in, chop up, and restructure as needed.

Peggy Pipes - February 17, 2017

I agree they have too much. I would like to see them get rid of the ones not needed on the federal level and return power to the states.

Bill Coates - February 17, 2017

Way too much, and the judiciary’s attitude of letting federal agencies expand their power by agency fiat is unpardonable. If the agency does not clearly serve one of the specific delegated powers, it should not be a federal agency – possibly a state agency, if the state chooses to handicap its own economy and citizens with more bureaucracy.

Dean Hayden - February 17, 2017

No regulation should ever have the force of law if it is not important enough to be passed by congress.

Carol Eggers - February 17, 2017

In many cases I believe that they do have to much power. I have one question that I have not seen addressed anywhere. Have the czars been relieved of their jobs or are they still on government payroll? That was one of the worst things that Obama did, in my opinion. I only hope that it has been reversed.

Patricia Mannel - February 17, 2017

Many have way too much power. So often it inflates their ego and confidence in their selves. Therefore causing them to make deals on the side.

jeremy freimund - February 17, 2017

No doubt about it. There is a governmental regulation for everything- especially in areas where the feds should have no jurisdiction- such as birth control.Good luck!!

Glynnda White - February 17, 2017

Of course they do. There should not be one federal regulation in place that has not gone through elected officials before being enacted. The fact that a huge number of federal agencies including the Dept of Ed for God’s sake has a policing force is beyond ridiculous. I would estimate that 80% of federal agencies should be run in states and we will find that many of these are only necessary by area or not necessary at all and can easily be eliminated….

Mary Roloff - February 18, 2017

Absolute tyranny by these federal agencies! They have to be reined in and put in their proper place. Many do not need to exist or can be vastly reduced saving the taxpayers money. What can be handled locally should be handled locally. The EPA is outrageous. Enough!

JOHN EMMI - February 18, 2017

Absolutely, not only do they have too much power the they’re also unaccountable.

Ed - February 18, 2017

The ghost executive branch (the bureaucrats) has the power that the President has chosen to delegate to them and many have done so without oversight. It seems a bureaucrat’s job is to stay employed and they do so by building huge departments; riding the government of these little kingdoms can improve efficiency and lower cost of government.

But the bureaucracy is not the only problem, bringing the Judiciary back under control of the Constitution is also badly needed, use of the impeachment process should give notice that the Judiciary does not make law they shall only interpret law as Congress deems correct.

Bill Chambers - February 18, 2017

Congress:
• Require members of Congress to congress electronically from the states and districts from which they are elected. To be done over dedicated, encrypted, high-bandwidth communications. All transmissions are to be recorded and archived to preserve the public record.
• Require one issue per bill put before congress. Do not allow amendments to unrelated laws or executive rules. Prohibit the phrase “and other things” in the explanation of the purpose of the Bill.
• Require Congress to add a paragraph, in common English, explaining the intent of proposed legislation.
• Require each member of Congress to certify individually that they have read and understood any bill put before them for a vote prior to casting their vote.
• Require each member of Congress to certify individually they have considered the constitutionality of the provisions of the bill.
• Require each member of Congress to state and explain all objections to any Bill or provision of a Bill placed before them for a vote.
• Require Congress to prohibit lobbying by organizations, to include foreign interest organizations, while allowing individuals to lobby on behalf of themselves only.
• Prohibit the Executive from committing any element of the Armed Forces to operations in a foreign land without the formal consent of the Senate or alternatively the Senate Foreign Relations committee.
• When giving a Department or other organ of the Executive branch rule-making powers with the effect of law, require the Congress to approve each rule that may result in penalty to an individual citizen. Each voting member will explain all objections to each rule.
• Prohibit unfunded mandates on the States.
• Disallow “earmarks”.
The Founding Fathers intended service in Congress to be an honor, not a career. They envisioned citizen-legislators temporarily performing a duty of public-service and then returning to their prior endeavors. They did not intend the establishment of a “ruling class.”
• Term Limits: A maximum of 12 years in Congress. 1) Two Senate terms; 2) Six House terms; 3) One Senate and three House terms.
• A Senator or Representative will collect a salary while in office and receives no pay and no pension when out of office.
• A Senator or Representative will collect a salary while in office.
• A Senator or Representative may participate in a retirement plan available to the general public.
• A Senator or Representative will pay Social Security and Medicare taxes.
• A Senator or Representative may participate in any health care plan available to the general public.
• A Senator or Representative will collect a salary adjusted annually by the Consumer Price Index or 3%, whichever is less.
• A Senator or Representative will place all financial assets in a blind trust for the duration of his/her service.
• Congress shall make no law that applies to the citizens of the United States that does not apply equally to the Senators and/or Representatives; and, Congress shall make no law that applies to the Senators and/or Representatives that does not apply equally to the citizens of the United States.”
Judiciary:
• The Congress should enact a law that requires the Supreme Court and all Federal courts to base all decisions on the Constitution as it exists without reference Case Law. Should this law be declared unconstitutional, it should be proposed as an amendment to the Constitution and ratified by the States.

jim morton - February 18, 2017

congress must oversee, if blocked,authmaticly stop funding, that should be part of the law.

Millie Kirschner - February 19, 2017

Yes. In that I have read that it is impossible to fire a poor performing burrocrat. Is it true that a middle paid burrecratic positioned person are put on leave and fully paid while a charge has to go to court for a lengthy process?? So unfair to the tax payer.

Henry C. Holder - February 19, 2017

Yes, agencies should be required to work with congressional counterparts when the rules inmpact cost, people and security.

David Kennedy - February 19, 2017

Yes, the Federal government has stolen too much from the States. They act as though they are superior to the individual States on everything that comes up, instead of following the Constitution & Bill of Rights.

Mary Szullo - February 19, 2017

Yes! More agency power needs to go! Drain the swamp, President Trump!

Lamar Cornwell - February 19, 2017

Most Federal agencies are too bloated with employees and funding, except for our Military branches and Patents Office. Congress, both Republicans and Democrats, have way over spent revenues collected from tax payers.

Lorena Steffen - February 20, 2017

Yes! They are bloated with unnecessary employees who are taking away the freedom of the citizens to live lives unencumbered by senseless regulations and taxes.

Tony Pope - February 20, 2017

As I read comments of others, I try to summarize with 2 simple statements:
TERM LIMITS for all 3 branches of Government, and government employees should NOT be allowed to unionize !

Larry Lancaster - February 20, 2017

More and more we are learning about the “Deep State” and the need to dismantle the unelected and unacountable beauracy that only servies itelf and not Americans. We need to slash the federal government into a skeletal structure that was outline in the thinking of our founding fathers and is spelled out in the constitution.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *