Armstrong Introduces Legislation to Rein in Federal Bureaucracy

August 5, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON – This week, Congressman Kelly Armstrong introduced HR 7895, The Separation of Powers Act. The bill would eliminate the judicial doctrine known as Chevron Deference, which requires that federal courts defer to statutory interpretations offered by federal agencies. He introduced the act alongside Rep. Mike Johnson, Rep. Gary Palmer, Rep. Jeff Duncan, Rep. Doug Lamborn, Rep. Steve Chabot, Rep. Matt Gaetz, Rep. Guy Rescenthaler, Rep. David Rouzer, Rep. Ben Cline, Rep. Barry Loudermilk, Rep. Morgan Griffith, Rep. Michael Burgess, Rep. Doug Collins, Rep. Mike Gallagher, Rep. Mark Walker, Rep. Bradley Byrne, Rep. David Roe, Rep. Andy Biggs, Rep. Ted Yoho, and Rep. Ken Buck.

Chevron Deference is a judicial doctrine that empowers the federal bureaucracy. The Constitution clearly gives the legislative power to Congress and judicial authority to the federal courts. Mandated deference to agencies in the judicial review process hands agencies a tremendous power over the meaning of our laws, despite federal agencies not deriving their authority from the Constitution. The Separation of Powers Act allows for the courts to reclaim their authority by reviewing agency actions under a de novo standard, so that judges can consider such issues solely on the merits. This important reform removes the presumptive influences of agencies and restores power to the Congress and the federal judiciary.

The Chairman of the Republican Study Committee, Rep. Mike Johnson, advocated for The Separation of Powers Act, saying, “I thank Congressman Armstrong for being an advocate for hardworking taxpayers and a leader in Republican Study Committee’s broader effort to give the American people a federal government that is more efficient, effective, and accountable. I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support this bill and send it to the president’s desk without delay.”

It’s time to shrink the arsenal of an out-of-control federal bureaucracy, they’ll get by just fine.


Chevron Deference is a judicial doctrine developed by the Supreme Court in Chevron U.S.A. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, which found that courts must defer to an agency’s interpretation of an ambiguous statute if the agency’s interpretation is reasonable.  Under the two-part test, a court must first determine whether Congress spoke directly on the issue in question. If Congress did not directly address the issue, the second part of the test requires the court to determine whether the agency’s action is based on a permissible understanding of the statute.