Dozens of Democrats have joined a GOP-led bill that would require the Biden administration to review any executive order which would have an annual budgetary effect of $1 billion or more. The REIN Act’s intended purpose is to hit the brakes on the administration’s out-of-control spending and actions, which have caused the highest inflation rate in decades. 57 Democrats voted with Republicans, and the bill easily passed through the chamber with a 272 – 148 vote. Republicans are hoping that if the President sees the financial consequences of his actions, he will think twice before enacting his executive orders. The bill’s cosponsors highlight that two years of rash, partisan action has had severe financial consequences on the American people and that this bill will help the GOP fulfill its promise to hold the Biden administration accountable for its mistakes.
By Peter Kasperowicz; March 1, 2023
Dozens of House Democrats joined with their Republican colleagues on Wednesday in a vote to require the White House to assess the inflationary effect of President Biden’s executive orders before they are issued.
The bill is the latest effort by Republicans to pump the brakes on Biden administration policies that they say are causing the highest inflation levels seen in decades. But the bill was also supported by 59 Democrats, and easily passed in a 272-148 vote.
Under the bill, any executive order that has an annual budgetary effect of $1 billion or more would have to first be studied by the administration for its possible inflationary effects on the economy, which Republicans say would make Biden think twice about imposing costly new rules on the public.
The bill passed over objections from Democrats who rejected GOP arguments that Washington policies — either in the form of edicts from the Biden administration or massive waves of new federal spending by Congress — have caused inflation. Rep. Cori Bush, D-Mo., blamed the higher costs faced by millions of Americans on COVID and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“The global spike in inflation has been caused by food and fuel disruptions resulting from the illegal and unprovoked Russian invasion of Ukraine, as well as auto part supply shortages connected to the COVID-19 pandemic,” she said in Tuesday debate. “There is no evidence that government spending or executive orders by President Biden have increased inflation.”
Other Democrats insisted that massive spending bills like the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan and the $700 billion-plus Inflation Reduction Act helped to tame inflation, even though some economists have said those and other bills pumped up demand by flooding the country with more money in a way that drove inflation higher.
“Because of the American Rescue Plan and the actual Inflation Reduction Act that Democrats passed last year, our country’s inflation rate is now lower than in the U.K., Canada, and 20 other European Union member states,” said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.
Republicans have vowed to control congressional spending now that they run the House and argued that Biden also needs to be put in check because he is too casually issuing orders that lead to higher prices for Americans. The GOP has cited two examples of Biden executive orders that have had inflationary effects — one that revoked the Keystone XL pipeline permit, and another in late 2021 that requires the government to move toward buying only electric-only vehicles over the next decade.
“Pushing one big-spending policy after another, President Biden has continued to throw fuel on the inflationary fire,” said House Oversight and Accountability Committee Chairman James Comer, R-Ky., a sponsor of the bill. “That fire is rapidly consuming the wages of our constituents. They have had to pay higher and higher prices for everything from eggs to electricity, all while inflation pushes their real wages further and further behind.”
“The REIN IN Act ensures that costly actions the President decides to take solely under his own authority through executive orders will not go into effect until he is informed of and considers the potential inflationary effects,” Comer added. “The hope is the president, once he is informed of and understands the potential for inflationary harm from his own policy initiatives, will think twice about inflicting such harm.”
Another sponsor, House GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik of New York, said families are getting crushed by inflation that’s hitting nearly everything they buy, and that Congress needs to pass the bill to force Biden to recognize it.
“During the past two years of one party, far-left, radical, socialist Democrat rule in Washington led by President Joe Biden, inflation has skyrocketed to the highest level in my lifetime,” she said. “You talk to any family, any small business, any farmer, any manufacturer, and they will say that the inflation that they are suffering from is crippling their businesses, crippling their family budgets.”‘
Photo: Andrew Caballero