Chairman Cole Hearing Remarks on H.R. 277, H.R. 288, H.R. 1615, and H.R. 1640

As prepared for delivery:

Good afternoon. It is no secret that Americans are rightfully frustrated with government overreach and overregulation. I’ve heard the concerns directly from my constituents in Oklahoma. The last thing people want is the heavy hand of the federal government burdening their families and businesses. Yet the Biden Administration has failed to take note. In their zeal to force their progressive vision onto the nation, Democrats have produced egregious regulation after regulation.

It’s time to end this abuse of regulatory power. Today, the Rules Committee is pushing back against unnecessary and burdensome executive agency overreach with four measures.

The first I’ll discuss is H.R. 277, the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny, or REINS Act. The REINS Act will require congressional approval of any major rule or regulation that has an economic impact of one hundred million dollars or more annually.

The Constitution articulates where laws are made—it’s here in Congress. Yet, in recent years, executive departments and agencies have largely seized the role of legislating by imposing new rules and regulations, which have the force of law, at a record pace.

It's time to return power to Congress – which unlike Washington bureaucrats – is accountable to the electorate. The REINS Act will do just that. By requiring Congress to affirmatively approve every major rule or regulation that an administration issues, the bill will restore accountability and our legislative authority. It strengthens the checks and balances system on the executive branch and curbs unelected federal employees from having unfettered power.

Our second item, H.R. 288, is the Separation of Powers Restoration Act. The bill amends existing law to change the scope of judicial review of agency actions.

At present, courts generally follow the so-called “Chevron deference,” which requires courts to defer to an agency’s interpretation of a statute when reviewing an agency action like a regulation or a rule. This gives Washington bureaucrats undue power at the expense of Congressional intent. If the agency’s interpretation of the law is obviously incorrect, it still stands. SOPRA will change that. It will require the courts to review all issues from the beginning, including an appropriate review as to what the law says, without putting a thumb on the scale in favor of the agency.

Finally, our third and fourth items, H.R. 1615 and H.R. 1640, push back on the Biden Administration’s efforts to dictate what types of stoves Americans cook on. That’s right, the White House wants to limit your ability to purchase and use gas stoves.

Natural gas is a key part of Oklahoma’s economy. Nationally, we are the fifth-largest producer of natural gas, and we export two-thirds of what we produce out of the state. Oklahomans are proud to be part of our American energy dominance. Natural gas is used to heat just over half of the homes in my state, and just over a third of Oklahoma residents use a gas stove to cook at home.

My constituents are right to worry about the Biden Administration’s efforts to limit access to gas stoves. It’s why the House is advancing these two measures today that will restrict the administration’s ability to do so.

H.R. 1640 will prevent the Department of Energy from finalizing a proposed regulation that will effectively ban half of the existing gas stoves on the market and will increase the price of the few options that would remain. And H.R. 1615 will prohibit the Consumer Product Safety Commission from regulating gas stoves as a banned hazardous product, or enforcing a product safety standard that bans gas stoves or substantially increases their price.

I’m sure my friends in the minority will dismiss these two bills as addressing a petty concern. But it is not a petty concern to the hardworking Americans who will be impacted. As Americans already suffer under rampant inflation thanks to Democrats’ out of control spending, the last thing they need is to have the Biden Administration’s Green New Deal regulatory assault reach their kitchen appliances.

House Republicans are committed to putting the people first and implementing pro-growth policies that unleash opportunity and our economy. Cutting burdensome agency rules and halting the Biden Administration’s progressive regulatory agenda is a critical step in that commitment to America.


Jun 5, 2023