REIN in the president

U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, is painfully aware of the damage done by runaway government of the type favored by President Barack Obama. In May, six of the 10 counties with the worst unemployment rates in Ohio were in Johnson’s Sixth Congressional District.

The very worst unemployment rate in the state, at 10.8 percent, was in Monroe County, right in the middle of the district. Closure of the Ormet aluminum plant at Hannibal bears much of the blame for that – and Obama’s war on coal played a role by forcing higher electricity rates.

Many of Johnson’s constituents are – or were, until Obama went after their industry – coal miners. On their behalf, Johnson in 2012 sponsored the Stop the War on Coal Act. It was approved by the House of Representatives, 233-175, but went nowhere in the U.S. Senate because of opposition by Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

As Johnson points out, the House has passed 35 jobs-related bills, only to watch Reid and fellow liberals kill them in the Senate.

Perhaps the most important of the lot is the REINS Act, supported strongly by Johnson. The acronym stands for Regulations from the Executive In Need of Scrutiny, and it means just that.

As watchful Ohioans are well aware, much of the destruction Obama has caused in the private sector has been through unilateral action by the executive branch. That has occurred despite reluctance by many in Congress to take action that would cost jobs – and sometimes in direct contradiction of lawmakers’ wishes.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s assault on coal and affordable electricity is an excellent example. Early in his presidency, Obama attempted to gain congressional approval of draconian action against coal-fired power plants. The U.S. Senate voted his bill down.

Obama and the EPA then began creating new regulations on their own.

Johnson and other advocates of the REINS Act believe major actions by the federal government should be subject to approval by Congress. Their proposal would require just that. No longer would Obama be able to govern, as he himself has said, by “pen and phone” from the Oval Office.

Versions of the REINS Act already have been passed by the House – and shelved in the Senate.

But the idea is too important – especially to high-unemployment counties like many in eastern Ohio – to drop. Johnson and other concerned lawmakers should mount another push for the REINS Act.