Congressional Accountability

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Congressional Responsibility and Accountability Act

by Ron Paul by Ron Paul

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Before the U.S. House of Representatives on August 1, 2007

Madame Speaker, I rise to introduce the Congressional Responsibility and Accountability Act. This bill requires Congress to specifically authorize via legislation any proposed federal regulation that will impose costs on any individual of at least $5,000, impose costs on a business or other private organization of at least $25,000, impose aggregate costs on the American people of at least $250,000, or cause any American to lose his or her job.

According to some legal experts, at least three-quarters of all federal laws consist of regulations promulgated by federal agencies without the consent, or even the review of, Congress. Allowing unelected, and thus unaccountable, executive agencies to make law undermines democracy. Law-making by executive agencies also violates the intent of the drafters of the Constitution to separate legislative and executive powers. The drafters of the Constitution correctly viewed separation of powers as a cornerstone of republican government and a key to protecting individual liberty from excessive and arbitrary government power.

Congress’s delegation of law-making authority to unelected bureaucrats has created a system that seems to owe more to the writings of Franz Kafka than to the writings of James Madison. The volume of regulations promulgated by federal agencies and the constant introduction of new rules make it impossible for most Americans to know with any certainty the federal laws, regulations, and rules they are required to obey. Thus, almost all Americans live with the danger that they may be hauled before a federal agency for an infraction they have no reasonable way of knowing is against the law.

While it is easy for members of Congress to complain about out-of-control federal bureaucrats, it was Congress that gave these agencies the ability to create laws. Since Congress created the problem of lawmaking by regulatory agencies, it is up to Congress to fix the problem and make certain that all federal laws are passed by the people’s elected representatives. Therefore, Madame Speaker, I urge my colleagues to cosponsor the Congressional Responsibility and Accountability Act.

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Dr. Ron Paul is a Republican member of Congress from Texas.

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