Most laws are, um, imperfect. They contain vague bits, or ambiguous bits, etc. Many statutes don’t really contain the information they need to be of any use to the public. An example is Federal employee pay. Congress does not sit down and decide how many dollars Laura gets in pay year 2017. Congress authorizes OPM to make that decision. Congress may require that new employees are paid the bare minimum, but Congress also says: “However, under regulations prescribed by the Office of Personnel Management which provide for such considerations as the existing pay or unusually high or unique qualifications of the candidate, or a special need of the Government for his services, the head of an agency may appoint, with the approval of the Office in each specific case, an individual to a position at such a rate above the minimum rate of the appropriate grade as the Office may authorize for this purpose.” So when you hear morons muttering about the unfettered power of unelected bureaucrats issuing burdensome regulations, you need to stop to consider that the unelected bureaucrats are doing exactly what Congress told them to do when it enacted a holey statute and told bureaucrats to issue regulations to fill in the blanks.
The power is not unfettered, either. First, there’s a process, of course. More importantly, Congress has given itself the authority to issue Joint Resolutions “disapproving” of the very regulations it directed the bureaucrats to issue. These disapprovals prevent regulations form taking effect or overrule them, so to speak, after they take effect. In other words, Here. You finish it. Not like that.
So what has your Congress been doing? It has been “disapproving” of a whole pile of regulations that were issued in late 2016.
H.J. Res. 57 undoing regulations implementing the 2015 Every Student Succeeds Act amendments to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1963.
H.J. Res. 40 undoing regulations that implemented a provision of the NICS Improvement Amendments Act authorizing the Social Security Administration to let the great big criminal background check database know when a recipient of SS benefits is crazy. If SSA doesn’t share information about your craziness, then it’s easier for you to pass a background check and get a gun. Awesome! Because everyone should have a gun. Especially deranged people who might want to shoot up a movie theater, or severely depressed people who want to shoot themselves in the head. When Lucy dies and I am free to do myself in, it’s good to know that there will be as few barriers to gun ownership as possible.
H.J.Res. 58 undoing rules relating to the assessment of teacher training.
H.J.Res. 37 undoing parts of the FAR that required Federal contractors to follow Federal labor laws. Which they were already required to do anyway, but the rule meant that they couldn’t awarded Federal contracts if they were labor law scofflaws.
H.J. Res. 44 undoing procedural rules pertaining to land use plans. The rules required the Bureau of Land Management to develop better data on the recreational use of public lands and use that data in developing plans. If the BLM doesn’t have data on recreation, it’s easier to plan for land use that exploits public lands for corporate profits.
H.J.Res. 83 undoing rules relating to employer obligations to keep track of work-related injuries and illnesses.
That’s enough. There are a lot more of these, but I’m just getting more and more pissed off. By the way, every single one of these was sponsored by a Republican, and every one of them favors corporate power over individual power, except the educations ones, which may do that too, but are mostly aimed it seems at undercutting education. Dumber voters means more business as usual.