Wicker Introduces Legislation Allowing States to Challenge Federal Regulations

Press Release

Date: Dec. 9, 2010
Location: Washington, DC

Bill aims to restore the 10th Amendment

U.S. Senator Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) introduced legislation today that would provide special standing for state officials to challenge federal regulations issued by government agencies. Under the legislation, any rule proposed by a federal agency would be subject to constitutional challenges if state officials determine the rule infringes upon powers reserved to the states under the 10th Amendment.

"From harmful mandates in Obamacare to job-killing EPA regulations, the federal government continues to reach far beyond our Founding Fathers' intent," said Wicker. "This bill is a step toward restoring states' rights by allowing state officials to challenge the rules and regulations that violate the Constitution."

"It is refreshing that Senator Wicker, as a federal official, is standing up for the constitutional mandate of a limited federal government. States should applaud him. I do," added Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour.

The 10th Amendment reads, "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

Under Wicker's legislation, governors, lieutenant governors, and majority or minority leaders in state legislatures can challenge rules and regulations of federal agencies. Once a challenge is filed by a designated state official, the agency would have 15 days to withdraw the rule or release a written statement certifying the constitutionality of the rule under the 10th Amendment. The federal agencies would be required to post publicly and notify states of all challenges filed.

In a speech on the Senate floor, Wicker pointed to the President's health care law as one of the most prominent examples of federal intrusion into the rights of states and the people. The new health care law creates 159 bureaucracies and gives unelected bureaucrats the power to write the many rules and regulations required to implement Obamacare.

"Repealing Obamacare remains one of my top priorities and until we can achieve that goal, I am fighting to stop harmful regulations from going into effect under the new law," added Wicker. "This bill would give state officials another tool to challenge the unconstitutional overreach of the federal government."

Although late in the legislative session, Wicker said he introduced the bill to gain support for reintroduction in the 112th Congress. Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) has introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives.