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'Death by a thousand cuts': Louisiana Republican blasts economic damage from 'administrative' state

Fox News: Brianna Herlihy

Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La., tore into "nameless, faceless bureaucrats" in the "administrative state" he says are circumventing Congress by making sweeping federal rules without congressional authority that burdens taxpayers and ultimately drove the country into trillions of dollars in debt.

In a House Judiciary Committee hearing Wednesday discussing the Regulations from the Executive In Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act, Johnson said the bill is necessary because "the administrative state has grown exponentially over the recent decades" and "has consolidated governmental powers in the executive branch. 

"And what that's done," Johnson said, "is it's usurped the proper and constitutional role of Congress, our Article I authority over lawmaking and policymaking."

Johnson, the House Republican Conference vice chairman, said "consolidation of power has become really very dangerous. It's created an administrative state that is out of control. It's contrary to the separation of powers doctrine in our Constitution, and it diminishes the political accountability of the people who set policy."

The REINS Act would require Congress to approve every major rule instituted by a federal agency. It defines a "major rule" as any federal rule or regulation that has an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more; leads to higher prices; has adverse effects on employment, investment and other economic factors; or hurts the ability of U.S.-based enterprises to compete with foreign-based enterprises.

During the meeting, Johnson said he supports an amendment to the REINS Act that would reduce the "annual effect on the economy" threshold from $100 million to $50 million. 

That means a rule that has a projected annual effect on the economy of $50 million or more would be considered a major rule and require congressional approval before it could go into effect.

"If you have nameless, faceless bureaucrats who are effectively making law, they are, by definition, unaccountable. We literally do not know who to hold accountable," Johnson said.

"We better maintain this system of checks and balances, and I think this would be a really, really important step to prevent this death by 1,000 little cuts of our liberty and our oversight and allowing the government to grow so out of control," Johnson added.

"We wouldn't have a $31.8 trillion federal debt if Congress was more involved in these decisions."

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