Herbert Simon on the REINS Act

Most regulations are issued by the executive branch, not Congress. This limits their accountability to elected officials. Bills such as the REINS Act seek to address this by requiring Congress to vote on major new agency regulations (see my 2016 paper on REINS). One objection to REINS is that it would require an additional 40 to 50 congressional votes per year; Congress often has too much on its plate as it is. Herbert A. Simon foresaw that objection several decades ago on p. 65 of the 4th edition (1997) of 1947’s Administrative Behavior (emphasis in original):

Second, the fact that pressure of legislative work forbids the review of more than a few administrative decisions does not destroy the usefulness of sanctions that permit the legislative body to hold the administrator answerable for any of his decisions.

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