Rep. Steve Israel, D-Dix Hills, voted Dec. 7 against the REINS Act, which would require congressional approval for the costliest regulations that would have an economic impact of $100 million or greater.
The measure passed 241-184 in the House with four Democrats joining 237 Republicans. (H.R. 10, Roll Call #901).
REINS would create a review process that forces each house to vote on each major rule and for the president to sign off on all new major rules before they can be enforced on small businesses, or state and local governments.
Last year, 100 major rules were finalized by the Executive Branch, according Rep. Geoff Davis, R-Kentucky, the co-author of the bill, who is seeking to change that.
Democrats say the measure would hamper the regulatory process, increase uncertainty and allow Congress to do away with some regulations that are necessary in order to protect consumers, according to a Washington Post report.
"Call me crazy, but I think we should protect children from tainted food or dangerous toys imported from China," said Israel in a statement to Patch.
Under REINS, if a member of Congress wishes to stop safety regulations at the behest of a special interest, they will have to do it out in the open, and will only succeed if they can win a majority vote, according to law professor Jonathan Adler.
"Instead of focusing on serious legislation to protect middle class families and create jobs, such as the payroll tax cut and extending the pre-tax commuter benefits, we’ve spent the critical closing days of the congressional session on partisan distractions like the ‘REINS Act,’" said Israel on Wednesday.
Israel said the REINS Act would keep lawmakers from enacting common sense consumer protections, like protecting seniors in Huntington from financial scams and requiring a gridlocked Congress to be more involved in the regulatory process.
"This bill was an unnecessary distraction that harms consumers and does nothing to help our economy,” said Israel.
Republicans contend Israel is putting potential job-killing red tape ahead of policies that small businesses say will help them create jobs for middle-class families in New York.
“Israel today voted to continue to allow the Obama Administration to keep piling on scores of brand new mandates that crush small businesses and make a bad economy worse,” said National Republican Congressional Committee Communications Director Paul Lindsay in a press release Dec. 7.
The White House said there is no justification for the amendment and threatened a veto if the measure were to pass the Senate.
In a CNN report, Clarence Otis Jr., CEO of Darden Restaurants, parent company of Olive Garden, Red Lobster and LongHorn Steakhouse and a member of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta said his company's ability to provide jobs with appropriate compensation and benefits is directly challenged by over-regulation of government.