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Op-ed Placement

One Way to Reduce Regulations? Give States the Power to Reject Them.

Originally Published in The Hill on 10/12/16.

The current session of Congress, much like the ones that preceded it, has been filled with gridlock, recycled policy debates and little progress on the challenges facing our nation.

But on the day the House adjourned until November, a ray of hope emerged: A resolution to combat the regulatory state and revive federalism was introduced. There may be hope after all for the republic.

Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah) introduced H.J. Res. 100 on Sept. 28. This simple and elegant resolution would amend the Constitution "to give States the authority to repeal a Federal rule or regulation when ratified by the legislatures of two-thirds of the several States." The states could repeal "any Presidential Executive order, rule, regulation, other regulatory action, or administrative ruling issued by a department, agency, or instrumentality of the United States."

The amendment would help redress the massive power grab by the federal government at the expense of the states that has continued nearly unabated since the administration of President Woodrow Wilson. This trend is contrary to the notions of our constitutional republic. As James Madison wrote in Federalist Number 45:

The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. ... The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State.

This balance has been turned on its head primarily by the rise of the regulatory state and federal rule-making. This regime involves Congress handing over authority to bureaucrats to issue regulations and rules that impact nearly every area of our lives, from education and transportation, to the financial sector and the environment.