Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said regulations imposed by federal agencies that cost more than $100 million should be sent back to Congress for approval.
“Unelected bureaucrats shouldn’t write laws, but who are the unelected bureaucrats working for? And it’s a separation of powers issue. All of the bureaucracy of government works for the president and so we have abdicated our role as Congress. People say, ‘oh, well Obamacare was 2,000 pages, that’s so long.’ Well, yeah, that’s so long but the regulations are already 20,000 pages,” Paul said at the Heritage Foundation’s Conservative Policy Summit.
“So much of it’s being done without knowledge but without us doing what we need to do. So there’s this debate right now over defunding the immigration executive order. I’m all for that. However, I’m for that and about 1,000 other things on every bill,” he added.
Paul said he prefers having thousands of instructions on every appropriations bill.
“People say, ‘you’re just trying to tie the hands of the president.’ That’s our job. I don’t care if it’s a Republican president. The power of the purse, when people talk about the power of the purse, those are instructions,” he said.
“We’ve been writing, sort of, outlines of bills, sending them to the president and no matter which part they are, they do whatever they want. But, as a consequence, they do many things that we didn’t intend. I also think that regulations that are written that are very expensive, like over $100 million, ought to come back.”
Paul and former South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint, president of the Heritage Foundation, worked on the REINS Act together in Congress.
“It says that any regulation written by a bureaucrat, written by another branch of government that is very, very expensive, has to come back and be voted on and become law by the Congress,” he said. “That would go a long way towards reasserting our authority and reasserting the balance of powers.”
Paul also addressed U.S. foreign policy, particularly the conflict in the Middle East.
“We either come home completely and bring everything home or we defend our embassies and our interests. I think at this point what I would say is we defend our interests but that doesn’t mean that we have to be involved in every war and skirmish,” Paul said.
“If there’s any one true thing that I think is irrefutable that the facts really support is every time we’ve gotten involved to topple a secular dictator, it’s been replaced with chaos and the rise of radical Islam and that would be in Hillary’s war in Libya; this would also be in the Republican war in Iraq.”
Paul argued that Iraq is less stable than before the U.S. invasion in 2003.
“I think there are more problems with the rise of Iran as a problem because there is no counterbalance in Iraq anymore and so some of these problems are insolvable. The only thing I think we have to know from our perspective is we should defend our country and our people,” Paul said.