In a typical year, Congress will pass between 100 and 200 laws, while regulatory agencies will pass more than 3,500 regulations. In 2011, Congress passed 81 laws while agencies published 3,573 final rules — a difference of a factor of 47. In no year since 2003 has the imbalance been less than a factor of 12. The polite term for this is regulation without representation, and it is clearly anti-democratic...The administrative state is the greatest threat to our democracy, bar none. But you will rarely hear anybody in the chattering classes say so, because deep down they believe that the elites should govern the rest.
Rep. Todd Young (R-Ind.) has just introduced the Regulations from the Executive In Need of Scrutiny REINS Act (H.R. 367), which would only require Congress to vote on rules expected to cost $100 million or more per year (perhaps recognizing that it might be a bit much to ask Congress for individual votes on 3,500-plus rules every year). It would still increase Congress’ workload — there are 224 such rules at various stages of the rulemaking process right now — but it would also increase congressional accountability. As tradeoffs go, this is a good deal.