Cline introduces bill to ensure accountability in agency rulemaking
Congressmen Ben Cline (R-VA) and Jared Golden (D-ME) announced the introduction of H.R. 4434 – the Ensuring Accountability in Agency Rulemaking Act.
This legislation would require all rules proposed by federal agencies, except in limited circumstances, to be signed and issued by an individual appointed by the president, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate.
The Supreme Court held in Buckley v. Valeo (1976) that rule making is a significant government power that may be exercised only by officers appointed in accordance with the Constitution’s Appointments Clause, and more recently, court decisions, such as in Edmond v. United States (1997), support the conclusion that only principal agency officers such as Department Heads and Assistant Secretaries confirmed by the Senate may issue regulations that have the force of law and cannot be amended without another rulemaking procedure.
Unfortunately, compliance with constitutional rulemaking requirements has been inconsistent, which undermines accountability and opens agencies up to legal challenges because of improperly issued rules.
Rep. Cline said, “Rules promulgated by federal agencies effectively hold the same weight as law, and having rules issued by unelected career bureaucrats rather than an individual appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate is unacceptable. This bill seeks to uphold the traditions and values of our Republic, and it will ensure there is no question surrounding the legality of rules coming out of our federal agencies.”
Rep. Golden said, “Federal regulations should be made by officials who are accountable to Congress and the American people. I’m proud to co-lead this bipartisan effort.”
Text of the legislation can be found here.