Kline: Scrap The Convoluted Regulatory Process

House Committee on Education and the Workforce Chair John Kline (R-MN)
House Committee on Education and the Workforce Chair John Kline (R-MN)

Congressman John Kline (R-MN), who is chairman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, released an interesting statement on Wednesday about how the Every Student Succeeds Act is being implemented through the regulatory process. In particular he drills down on “supplement, not supplant” regulatory proposal.

U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), the chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP), has pointed out his frustration with this as well.

Kline, in his statement, has taken his criticism further.

The Department of Education is threatening to unilaterally impose a multi-billion dollar regulatory tax on our nation’s schools. This punitive policy will unleash havoc on schools and their students at a time when education leaders should be focused on helping children succeed in the classroom. America’s poorest neighborhoods will be hit the hardest as communities are forced to relocate teachers, raise taxes, or both. Any supposed “flexibility” is really a limited set of bad choices dictated by the secretary of education. This is not at all what Congress intended, and those who helped enact this law cannot honestly believe differently.

What the secretary is proposing is unprecedented and unlawful. The only way to make this right is to scrap this convoluted regulatory scheme immediately. Members of Congress came together to pass bipartisan reforms that are designed to help every child receive an excellent education, and we will not allow this administration to undermine these reforms with its own extreme, partisan agenda. (emphasis mine)

First, had only Kline and Alexander listened to those of us who said this would happen. The bill’s language left too much to be decided by the Secretary of Education. You give educrats an inch and they’ll take a mile. They were warned and they didn’t listen.

Second, I’m encouraged by Kline’s statement that the only way to make it right “is to scrap this convoluted regulatory scheme immediately.” Frankly we’d all be better off if the executive branch was stripped of his regulatory power and simply had to enforce laws as intended by Congress. The only people to blame for this is Congress. When you pass bills that are hundreds and thousands of pages long it becomes convoluted. When you leave too much up for interpretation in a bill it becomes convoluted. When you pass the buck to the executive branch, in this case the U.S. Department of Education, to decide how it is implemented the process becomes convoluted.

This is the Frankenstein monster that Congressman Kline, Senator Alexander and others helped to create. I can only hope that they are beginning to see that the only way to return power to the states is to truly remove power from the federal government.

I’m hopeful, but skeptical as well because it’s an election year.