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Knowledge Base

Reining In The Administrative State

What is the administrative state?

The administrative state refers to the federal agencies, regulators, and rule makers who collectively and routinely exercise powers that exceed their statutory authority. Although federal agencies’ purpose is to help the government administer and enforce the law, the administrative state has expanded its function outside of political control in modern times.

What is the EPA?

EPA stands for the Environmental Protection Agency, whose mission is “to protect human and environmental health.” The EPA regulates the manufacturing, processing, distribution and use of chemicals and other pollutants. Also, the EPA is charged with determining safe tolerance levels for chemicals and other contaminants in food, animal feed, and water. The EPA can enforce its findings through fines, sanctions, and other procedures.

What is the FCC?

FCC stands for the Federal Communication Commission, which was created to regulate all interstate communication, such as wire, satellite, and cable, as well as international communication originating or terminating in the United States.

What is the SEC?

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is an independent federal government agency responsible for protecting investors, maintaining fair and orderly functioning of securities markets, and facilitating capital formation. It promotes full public disclosure, protects investors against fraudulent and manipulative practices in the market, and monitors corporate takeover actions in the United States.

Why shouldn’t the federal agencies play a more prominent role in daily governance?

Federal agencies are supposed to help the government administer and enforce the law. In modern times, however, federal agencies have been given immense power and decision-making by Congress and the judicial branch. As a result, agencies have created regulations with little oversight or transparency and are independent of political control. 

With more power and little oversight, the nation’s most important policy choices are now being made by unelected regulators and bureaucrats, not Congress. As such, it is vital for federal agencies that make the administrative state realign its interests with the public, the principle of self-governance, and the rule of law.