Congress Must Write the Rules & Regulations

For laws and programs passed by Congress, we currently send them to regulation writers working in the Executive Branch under the President. The Executive Branch, not Congress, is writing all the rules and regulations.

Further, the President also administers budgets – and this removes the control of programs several steps away from Congress, which wrote and passed the legislation. It's the members of Congress who understand the intent of the legislation.

For example, after passage of the “No Child Left Behind” Act, Utah needed a waiver over some minor points, so I approached Mike Castle, the Chairman of the committee that passed the bill. He peremptorily responded that I didn’t need the waiver because the bill wouldn’t allow such a regulation. I gave him a two paragraph note with the relevant section of the bill and the regulation and asked him to have a staffer look into the issue. The next morning’s vote Mike came rushing to find me and apologize. “How could the Secretary of Education (Margaret Spelling, a Bush appointee) do a regulation that was exactly contrary to the plain language of the bill?”

The regulation writers currently in the Executive Branch need to be moved to a Congressional agency staffed to draft regulations under the direction of the committee chair, who has hiring and firing authority. The resulting regulations should then be subject to a vote of Congress and signature or veto by the President.

This return to Congressional power will more efficiently and ethically manage programs and appropriations. This would re-establish Congress to its more influential and effective role – assuring a genuine balance of powers – much as it operated nearly 100 years ago.

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