The following is a dramatization only, and is intended to offer a humorous take on a serious legislative issue. To learn more about the REINS Act, visit: www.NRDC.org/REINS.
Scene: Press conference with Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) announcing legislation aimed at rolling back federal regulations.
Announcer: Please welcome the honorable United States junior senator from the great state of Kentucky, Rand Paul.
Sen. Paul enters the room and steps up to a podium facing several rows of reporters.
Sen. Paul: Good morning. Over the past several decades federal regulations have made America’s air clearer, our water cleaner, our food healthier, our workplaces safer and our lives better. Well, guess what: Mission Accomplished!
Today I am proud to announce new legislation that sends the message: enough is enough. The REINS Act, or Regulations From the Executive in Need of Scrutiny, will require congressional approval of any regulatory rule that would impose compliance costs or benefits of more than $100 million a year. That includes regulations from the EPA, the FDA, and every other agency that has the temerity to put public health before corporate profits.
Now, I’ll be happy to take your questions.
Reporter #1: Senator Paul, taking for example the Food Safety Act passed last December, wouldn't your bill allow members of Congress to interfere with FDA inspections, food recalls and other safety standards required by the law?
Sen. Paul: Not to pat myself on the back, but yes, that's exactly what it'll do. I don't think anyone's gonna be missing a food inspection or two. We need more personal accountability and less government intrusion. When you grab a gallon of milk from the refrigerator, what do you do before drinking it? You smell it. If it smells funky, you don't drink it.
Sen. Paul rolls eyes to ceiling.
Reporter #2: Excuse me Senator, but Americans can't smell salmonella poisoning in milk. Just like they can't taste arsenic in drinking water or mercury in fish. Shouldn't the agencies be allowed to do their jobs of protecting us?
Sen. Paul: Don't ever let me hear you underestimate Americans in my presence again! Do you hate America? Because I love her. And this legislation reflects my love for America's big corporations, I mean big people, I mean all people, well, all Americans that is. Next question.
Reporter #3: Senator, what about other health and environmental laws? Could the REINS Act really allow Federal clean water or clean air safeguards to be rolled back as well?
Sen. Paul: I know, I can hardly believe it either. But yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus!
Reporter #3: Actually, my name is Shirley. But anyway, you don’t think Americans should be concerned about rolling back regulations that prevent air and water pollution?
Sen. Paul: Look I was elected by the good people in the Tea Party and I know they don't want the government deciding what kind of air Americans have to breathe or what type of chemicals we're not allowed to drink.
Reporter #4: Correct me if I’m wrong, Senator, but I thought the Tea Party was concerned about cutting government spending and reducing taxation? What does that have to do with relaxing rules so Big Corporations can pollute more?
Sen. Paul: Let’s look at the numbers here, shall we? There are a heckuva lot more people in this country than there are corporations. These multinational conglomerates are few, and their number gets smaller every time they merge. Someone's gotta speak for the little guy.
(man in tri-cornered hat stands up)
Tea Party Reporter: Yes, Senator Appall, a couple questions for the Tea Party Daily Constitutional.
Sen. Paul: Fine paper. Love your coupons. What are your questions?
Tea Party Reporter: First, so-called experts at the "National Resources Defense Council" have criticized your bill, saying it would result in a “slow-motion shutdown of government.” What do you say to that?
Sen. Paul: Well, voters sent me to Congress to do a job and if that means I have to shut down the government to do it, so be it.
Tea Party Reporter: Yes! Now that's what I’m talking about! Second, in your opinion what's your favorite part about this whole bill?
Sen. Paul: That would have to be the fact that it allows members of Congress to vote to enact any safety or protection laws we might truly hate, because we know some of us later can stop the required freedom-hating rules from taking effect.
Tea Party Reporter: Wait a minute. Are you saying...
Sen. Paul: Yes, siree! The REINS Act is a Trojan Horse bill that lets a smaller bloc of lawmakers retroactively stop pesky environmental, public health, and consumer safety laws enacted by a majority of Congress. And what’s more American than rooting for the underdog?
Tea Party Reporter: (starts chanting) USA! USA! USA!
Sen. Paul joins in the chant from the podium.
(in unison) USA! USA! USA!