Proposed legislation would rein in unaccountable bureaucrats
July 22, 2021
Washington, D.C.; July 22, 2021: A bill recently introduced in the House of Representatives will bring much-needed oversight and accountability to federal bureaucracies. Introduced by Reps. Ben Cline (R–Virginia 6) and Jared Golden (D–Maine 2), the bill would require all significant rules and regulations to be signed by presidentially appointed and Senate-confirmed officials, as the Constitution demands.
“Regulations that bind the people must be signed by officials who are democratically accountable at the highest level,” said Joe Luppino-Esposito, director of federal affairs for Pacific Legal Foundation. “When officials are appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate, they are given responsibility for rulemaking. And citizens know who to praise or blame. This bill will require federal agencies to follow the Constitution and will make sure that Americans aren’t governed by unaccountable bureaucrats deep within the federal government.”
In 2018, Pacific Legal Foundation filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services after it was found that hundreds of rules were issued by a career employee with no democratic accountability. PLF published a report detailing the unlawful issuance of rules at the agency and provided testimony at a Senate hearing on the issue.
“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,” said Rep. Cline. “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.”
The bill is H.R. 4434.
Pacific Legal Foundation is a national nonprofit legal organization that defends Americans threatened by government overreach and abuse. Since our founding in 1973, we challenge the government when it violates individual liberty and constitutional rights. With active cases in 34 states plus Washington, D.C., PLF represents clients in state and federal courts, with 17 wins of 19 cases litigated at the U.S. Supreme Court.