Rep. Bob Schaffer, a freshman Republican from Colorado, was a little angry when his questions about new regulations for farmers were answered in a dismissive tone by officials of the Agriculture Department, the agency that had just written them.
"You know, I don't think they're that interested in our opinions of these rules," Mr. Schaffer recalled saying to a more seasoned congressman who was sitting next to him in that Agricluture Committee hearing just a few weeks ago.
"Welcome to the United States Congress," the veteran politician replied.
While Congress makes the bills that become law with the president's signature, federal agencies write the rules that citizens and companies must follow. Congress has the authority to strike down regulations after the agencies have adopted them, but in the last two years it has not done so. Some members think the regulators have so much power the Constitution has been violated, particularly Article 1, Section 1: "All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States."
"Congress has abdicated its law-making authority," said Rep. J.D. Hayworth, Arizona Republican, who is pushing a bill that would require all regulations to come back to Congress for final approval. …