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What is the TRAIN Act?
Reading some information available on the ALEC organization’s website the subject of H.R. 2401 raised my interest in the objective it promotes. This bill passed the House of Representatives on September 23, 2011 with bi-partisan support. It is a bill which has seen little if any support from the Senate like other legislative actions of the Republican House of Representatives. The acronym TRAIN stands for Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation Act. This bill while it has bi-partisan support has its enemies in environmentalists. Given the content of the legislation this position has some justification in the eyes of environmentalists.
I as an American citizen and voter feel protecting our environment to be of the highest priority as it can and does affect our lives. While the focus appears to be on the EPA as many would have you believe the scope is much more. Many regulations and standards are created by government agencies and departments each year. As new laws are passed new regulations and standards are created but the content of these regulations and standards do not always agree with the objective of the legislation passed by Congress. This can in many cases be a matter of opinion as to how the law is interpreted by the government entity responsible for enforcement and monitoring.
While there needs to be a formal review process of all the regulations and sometimes standards created by various government entities the problem really centers on the language of legislation. We must face the fact that legislation enacted by those who we have elected at the state and federal level are not always well defined. It takes a team of lawyers or dedicated individuals in private industry to ensure businesses and organizations do not violate the rule of law. It is a problem which needs to be corrected. The TRAIN act is a step in the right direction and whether or not it becomes law in the future is a question yet to be answered.
One question which needs to be asked is why the language of legislation enacted at state and federal government levels vague in terms of the content. While we cannot read the minds of those who propose such legislation the appearance seems to be an attempt allow interpretation to enter the picture. We have come to accept in many cases the language place in most if not all legislation presented at the state and federal level. Our elected officials need to speak clearly too all individuals through legislation created. We have the right to understand the language in any law without needing a lawyer or dedicated individual to understand it for us. In terms of a business it costs money to have these individuals and eats at funds which may be put to better use such as creating jobs.
Enactment of the TRAIN act may have some side benefits if such questions are raised about the legislation enacted in terms of interpretations. Reviewing regulations and possibly standards created by government departments or agencies in the Executive Department might raise questions of the inadequacy of legislative content. It would be a good thing if such evaluations would prompt this opinion and force Congress to make changes in how legislation is written. It is hoped that the TRAIN act will be enacted to get the content of regulations and or standards under control. The amount of regulations seems to be growing by leaps and bounds and there is no doubt that there are overlaps in regulations created. Duplication in the structure of government was cited in the GAO report given to Congress and it is substantiation that duplication exists. Duplicate oversights cause the expenses of government oversight to rise while getting rid of duplication would reduce the costs of government. Let us hope in these economic times that there will be a change in the culture of Congress to change the way they do business. This will only occur if we the people get involved and let our elected officials know how we feel.
The percentage of individuals who feel Congress is doing a great job is at an all time low. Elected officials who are up for election in 2014 should be wary whether the actions they have taken and will take will affect their re-election possibilities. We can change the structure and culture of government through the individuals we elect if we exercise our right to vote in 2014.
Let it be stated there are good individuals from both political parties who deserve to be re-elected but there are also those who have not earned to be re-elected. Whether an individual deserves to be re-elected is left up to those who have elected them. Every two years our representatives must be elected to serve us and each two years one third of the Senate is up for election. Our votes have and can make a difference in the culture of Congress only if we take the time to perform the action.