A Plan to Rein In the Administrative State

A Plan to Rein In the Administrative State
AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File

Health-care reform has stalled in the Senate, but conservatives can take heart in some other efforts to “drain the swamp” in Washington — especially when it comes to the administrative state. The Trump administration has already rolled back many harmful Obama-era rules and regulations, including at least 30 promulgated by the Environmental Protection Agency. And congressional Republicans have, on several occasions, successfully invoked the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to undo a host of other overreaching Obama administration efforts.

These moves are encouraging, but they are only a temporary solution, because there's still nothing to prevent the next Democratic administration from engaging in a spate of new administrative rulemaking. The U.S. Constitution is structured to be a bulwark against big government, but judicially created doctrines have ceded more and more authority to administrative agencies over the years, which is what empowered the Obama administration to use administrative rulemaking to pursue its agenda after Democrats lost control of the legislative branch.

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