A dated but jaw-dropping video posted by Regulations.gov confirms that Congress really has become quite irrelevant. While members of Congress are oftentimes referred to as “lawmakers;” it is just a quaint title that has little to do with their actual activities.
More than ever, legislation in the form of rules and regulations is written by unelected bureaucrats and activists; bypassing the people’s elected representatives while imposing rules that impact Americans with just as much legal force as any law.
One of the narrators of the video, Professor Cary Coglianese, touts the fact that rules “are adopted by hundreds of administrative agencies at the federal level” and another, Professor Susan Webb Yackee declares that the public forum of the Federal Register ensures that “members of Congress don’t have to systematically take in the views of the public before they vote.”
This author highly doubts that many people in America can name the Vice President or the Attorney General, let alone recognize that they are expected to wade through the Federal Register and “comment” on pending rules and regulations.
Professor Coglianese adds,
Most people think of laws as being created by Congress or maybe through interpretations of the Constitution by the U.S. Supreme Court; but actually by volume and significance, regulations adopted by administrative agencies dwarf the decisions passed by Congress.
Watch the video here:
James Madison in The Federalist No. 62 wrote:
The internal effects of a mutable policy are still more calamitous. It poisons the blessing of liberty itself. It will be of little avail to the people, that the laws are made by men of their own choice, if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed or revised before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man, who knows what the law is to-day, can guess what it will be to-morrow. Law is defined to be a rule of action; but how can that be a rule, which is little known, and less fixed? [Emphasis added]
At the Washington Examiner this week, Paul Bedard pointed out:
The pace of agencies issuing new rules and regulations has hit a record high under President Obama, whose administration’s rules have filled 468,500 pages in the Federal Register…according to the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the president is poised to unleash another 2,375 new rules on American businesses without first giving Congress an up or down vote.
As reported at Broadside News,
It is not as if these rules only address internal governmental matters. Oftentimes, these rules and regulations are incredibly intrusive and directly impact business and individuals. Every single day, more rules and regulations get added to the Federal Register. The rules have become more and more political, as the recent proposed IRS rule that sought to shut down the free speech of the Tea party.
Consider this for visual impact of the laws passed by Congress versus rules and regulations in the 2013 Federal Register:
Sen Mike Lee displays 2013 Federal Register. It contains 80k+ pages of new rules. The founding Father would revolt! pic.twitter.com/KOmNokAjlP
— Chris (@Chris_1791) January 12, 2014
The Federal Register Act was approved on July 26, 1935 under Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Since then, “the Federal Register system expanded and evolved as the nation’s leaders gained experience using the system…”
Over time, elected representatives have given away their power and influence in the federal government. Without a populace to demand that they take back their power, it is likely that the current system of job-crushing, unwieldy and taxpayer-funded rules and regulations will continue.
The first and governing maxim in the interpretation of a statute is to discover the meaning of those who made it. ~James Wilson, Of the Study of Law in the United States, 1790
While partisan activists are writing rules and regulations, as well as legislation at the national and local levels; Congress, it seems, spends the vast majority of their time fundraising, as reported at the Huffington Post.
Cross-posted at Broadside News