By Mimi Nguyen Ly
The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill on Wednesday as a response to the Biden administration’s executive actions, which many lawmakers say have fueled rising prices and exacerbated inflation.
The Reduce Exacerbated Inflation Negatively Impacting the Nation (REIN IN) Inflation Act (H. R. 347) requires the president to publish the inflationary impact of executive actions before enacting them. The bill does nothing to alter government spending.
The legislation (pdf) passed in a 272-148 vote, with the support of 59 Democrats. Four Republicans voted against it. They are Reps. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), Bob Good (R-Va.), Matt Rosendale (R-Mont.), and Chip Roy (R-Texas).
The bill’s official summary noted that the requirement “does not apply to executive orders that (1) provide for emergency assistance or relief at the request of any state or local government or an official of the government, or (2) are necessary for national security or the ratification or implementation of international treaty obligations.”
Dozens of Democrats supporting the bill suggest it could have a chance in the Democrat-controlled Senate, reported The Center Square.
It comes as the Labor Department reported last week that consumer prices were up an annual rate of 6.4 percent in January—an increase from 1.4 percent when Joe Biden took office.
Reporting Estimates of Inflationary Impacts
The REIN IN Act would require the president, acting through the chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors (CEA) and Office of Management and Budget (OMB), to prepare a statement estimating the inflationary effects of any executive action with an estimated annual gross budgetary impact of at least $1 billion.
Under the legislation, each year, the White House would also have to report these statements to Congress—the House and Senate Committees on the Budget.
Lawmakers passed a proposed amendment to the measure from Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) that would also require inflation estimates for executive actions with an annual gross budgetary effect of at least $1 million.
They also approved another amendment proposed by Rep. Michael Cloud (R-Texas) to take into account the inflationary effects of debt servicing costs.
Oversight and Accountability Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) said the REIN IN Act “will bring transparency to spending and other inflationary policies initiated by Executive Orders from the White House so that in the future, if a President tries to ignore all warning signs and march ahead with inflation-inducing policies, Congress will be better equipped to hold them accountable.”
The Biden administration has asserted that its actions seek to tackle soaring inflation and lower costs for Americans. In his State of the Union address in early February, Biden painted a cheerful picture of economic recovery and touted better-than-expected numbers regarding inflation. But the cost of living continues to rise for many Americans.
‘Worst Spike in Prices in a Generation’
Biden has issued over 107 executive orders since taking office, according to the American Transparency Project.
Ways and Means Chairman Jason Smith (R-Mo.), in a statement Wednesday, accused the Biden administration of “fueling the worst spike in prices in a generation.” Smith said Biden’s “reckless agenda” continues to fuel the inflation crisis that has decreased wages for working families by 3.9 percent.
“Since the start of his Administration, President Biden has spent more than $1 trillion on executive actions that are continuing to fuel his inflation crisis—including a $500 billion student loan giveaway to the wealthy,” Smith said. “Democrats have created an economy where the wealthy and well-connected get handouts, while the working class pays the price.”
Biden’s executive actions have caused “financial pain” for hardworking Americans, House Financial Services Committee Chairman Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) said, citing “student loan scams,” limiting domestic energy production, and regulatory overload.
Henry’s office noted other executive actions lawmakers have said were responsible for jacking up prices for Americans and increasing inflation. Such actions include revoking the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, which the Biden administration has conceded has cost over 59,000 jobs and up to $9.61 billion, as well as enacting several climate policies such as compelling that half of all vehicles sold in the United States must be electric by 2030.
Besides executive actions, Biden has signed off on over $5.5 trillion in spending during his presidency to date, when Democrats controlled both the House and Senate in Congress.
The largest and first of these packages was the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, which passed through the House and Senate with no Republican votes. Later, Biden signed off on the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
In 2022, Biden signed off on two additional spending bills: the $740 billion controversially-named Inflation Reduction Act and the $1.7 trillion omnibus appropriations bill for the fiscal year 2023.
Joseph Lord contributed to this report.