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The United States is in the midst of a constitutional crisis. The lines that clearly delineate the boundaries of the three branches of government, specifically, the executive and legislative branches, have become blurred. Presidents have claimed powers that far exceed what the framers intended, and Congress has been complicit by its failure to reestablish itself as the rightful and sole lawmaking authority.
House Speaker Paul Ryan, however, unveiled a plan this week that begins the process of reclaiming the ground Congress has ceded to the executive branch and its ever-growing army of unelected bureaucrats.
The regulatory state -- which has become an unconstitutional fourth branch of the federal government -- has been a serious problem for years. Notably, President George W. Bush aggressively expanded the regulatory state. “The Bush team,” Veronique de Rugy wrote in January 2009, “spent more taxpayer money on issuing and enforcing regulations than any previous administration in U.S. history.”
But it has only come into focus under President Barack Obama, who, boastfully, with his “pen and phone,” has frequently circumvented Congress to create law, and his regulatory agenda pales in comparison to his predecessor. Left to pick up the cost are businesses and consumers.