CHARLESTON — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is leading a coalition of 13 state attorneys general in urging Congress to curb the authority of federal agencies to create and enforce regulations.
The attorneys general wrote to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell urging the Senate to pass a bill that would amend the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), a statute which sets forth the requirements for lawful executive agency action.
“It is past time that Congress review and update the APA to account for the massive growth in the size, breadth, and power of administrative agencies since it was enacted,” Morrisey wrote for the coalition. “Congress enacted the APA to help ensure that executive agencies do not act outside of the parameters of authority lawfully delegated to them by Congress and to protect the people’s Fifth Amendment right not to be deprived of liberty or property without due process of law.”
The letter states that the Obama-era executive overreach demonstrates that existing congressional, judicial and other structural checks on the regulatory state have proven inadequate.
One issue with current regulatory action highlighted in the letter is the increasing trend among agencies to make binding rules through so-called guidance documents. This abuse utilizes a mechanism, meant for non-binding advice, to attempt to implement binding regulations and sanctions, while avoiding the notice and comment period required by the existing APA.
Federal agencies also are acting outside the bounds of their authority through failure to consider existing state law or the costs of regulation. The growing administrative state has resulted in a vast, unelected bureaucracy that is unaccountable to the people the executive branch of government is bound to represent.
The West Virginia-led letter was joined by the attorneys general of Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin.