Growth of the Administrative State and the Administrative Procedure Act Compromise [No. 86]

Growth of the Administrative State and the Administrative Procedure Act Compromise [No. 86]

In the New Deal, Congress enacted numerous
statutes, creating new agencies, giving agencies power to address numerous issues that affect
us on a daily basis. We saw similar action by Congress in the 1970s
with respect to health and safety. Think the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act. Again, Congress identified these issues, passed
legislation, gave power even more power to federal agencies to address those issues. So the growth and the growth of the modern administrative
state can originally be traced back to Congress passing laws, giving more power to
federal agencies, growing federal power in comparison to states and to individuals. More recently, however, the growth of the
administrative state has happened because Congress does not act. It’s because Congress does not pass laws. We have this enormous administrative state
controlled by the president, and so for the president to respond uh to public opinion
and to the president’s own agenda, the president’s had to use these stale, older laws to address
new issues. Now part of the problem with this is that
Congress is quite polarized. Ah we don’t have a compromising Congress like
we did before. Uh we have a Congress that is not passing
laws on a regular basis, and that allows for federal agencies’ power to grow and grow. The Administrative Procedure Act attempted
to strike a compromise uh for administrative action. On the one hand, uh Congress wanted to require
agencies to go through sufficient process. They wanted them to use procedures that were
fair, that were transparent, that sought public input uh to account for the democratic deficit
agencies have. On the other hand, they didn’t want to require
too much process because too much process would lead to what we call ossification. If it’s too hard for an agency to regulate,
the agency won’t regulate and we’ll be stuck with regulations that are outdated, that are
stale, uh that can’t be updated to changing times. And so Congress in 1946 struck a balance. Tried to provide for enough process so there
would be transparency and public input and fairness, but not too much process that the
agency would be paralyzed, it wouldn’t be able to act, it would be ossified. Uh and that’s one of the important balances
struck by the original enactors of the Administrative Procedure Act.


One thought on “Growth of the Administrative State and the Administrative Procedure Act Compromise [No. 86]”

  • 1:06 lol wouldn't it be more accurate to say that Presidential elections have been often hinged on how a person promises to exercise the overreaching powers if elected. Or maybe, more recently , the the growth of the administrative state is the result of various Presidents exercise those powers to achieve political goal and not out of the necessity as designed.

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