Jonathan Adler has a post at Volokh about an interesting proposed law called the "Regulations from the Executive In Need of Scrutiny Act" (REINS Act). In short, the law would require that "major" regulations (those with a high projected cost) be approved by Congress before taking effect.
I'm not sure how I feel about the act, but that's not what I'd like to talk about. If you're interested in it, I encourage you to look into the bill and its provisions. Instead, I'd like to call attention to an interesting rhetorical move that Professor Adler uses at the end of his post:
Given that the REINS Act does not offer a mechanism to bottle up regulations with holds, filibusters or other roadblocks, supporters have adopted the implicit assumption that federal agencies are engaged in more aggressive regulation than the public supports. From what I’ve seen of the other side (and I have not seen much as of yet), some opposed to the REINS Act likewise assume that regulatory initiatives they would support could not command majorities in Congress. I don’t know whether this assumption is accurate, but it would say something if there were to be widespread agreement that federal agencies are regulating in a manner the American people do not support.
See what he did there? It's that subtle shift in language between the last two sentences. He goes from talking about regulatory initiatives that would not command majorities in Congress to talking about federal agencies regulating in a manner the American people do not support.
Not to offer a remedial lesson in United States government to a law professor, but...both the executive and legislative branches represent the American people in different ways. Neither does exactly what the American people want, and it's wrong to suggest that in a conflict between the regulatory agencies and Congress, a majority of Congress will always be on the side of the American people. (This is especially true since a majority in Congress need not actually represent a majority of the American people, but that's a different problem.)
While I'm at it, I'd like to highlight a few issues in the comment section to that post on Volokh.
PersonFromPorlock: While we’re at it, how about a bill requiring that all Supreme Court decisions be enacted — up or down — as laws? There aren’t many decisions in a given year and most of them would be approved without debate. But along with those, controversial rulings like Kelo would have to earn the approval of elected officials before becoming effective.
The most obvious reason that this is wrong (without even getting into how it would eviscerate the separation of powers on which our government is founded) is that it is, you know, unconstitutional.
GoneWithTheWind: Why not require any congressman who wishes to speak or submit anything in writing do so under oath? How could they object to be required to speak the truth under penalty of perjury?
It's unconstitutional to punish people in Congress for anything they say while Congress is in session.
As always, I recommend the Volokh Conspiracy for a mix of thoughtful libertarian thought and amusing right wing ranting.