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Regulatory reform on the horizon

Thursday, September 1, 2011

By law, the Executive Branch is required to annually document and make public the number of new regulatory actions it plans for the coming year. The Obama Administration recently posted information for 2011 online which revealed the regulatory onslaught is not being scaled back, but rather expanded.

According to the report which can be viewed at http://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/eAgenda..., the Obama Administration has 4,257 new regulatory actions in the works. Even more troubling is the number of "economically-significant" regulations, which has increased 15 percent since 2010. Of the 4,257 pending regulations 219 will have an economic impact of $100 million or more, the threshold for being "economically-significant." In its own statements, the Administration said some of these rules will have an impact of tens of billions of dollars. This regulatory thicket causes economic recovery to continue at an anemic pace.

As I travel across the Third District, the message from farmers, ranchers, and small business owners is consistently clear - Congress must act to stop government micromanagement which is smothering private-sector job creation and slowing recovery. One of the top priorities for Congress before the end of the year will be to pursue a regulatory relief agenda. This focus will include repeal of specific rules, as well as fundamental and structural reform to the rulemaking system.

H.Res. 72, which passed the House on February 11, 2011, directed Congressional committees to review the impact on job creation of pending regulations. Since its passage, Congressional committees have been investigating and inventorying overbearing rules. Before the end of the year the House is scheduled to consider repeal of the 10 regulations which most tie the hands of job creators and prevent economic growth. One of the arduous regulations included on this list is the Environmental Protection Agency's farm dust rule, which directly impacts Nebraska.

The EPA is expected to issue revised standards for its dust rule in the near future, and any downward revision will significantly impact economic growth for businesses and people throughout rural America, particularly farmers, ranchers, and others in the agriculture sector. To prevent a burdensome regulation to our rural economies, the House will act on the Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act (H.R. 1633), which I have co-sponsored.

In addition to the repeal of specific over-reaching regulations, the House also will consider another bill I have co-sponsored -- the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act, or the REINS Act (H.R. 10). The REINS Act would require Congress to take an up-or-down, stand-alone vote and for the President to approve all new major rules before they can be enforced on the American people. Passing this legislation would provide much-needed accountability and restraint in an era of out-of-control government.

The regulatory burden businesses, both large and small, currently face is reflective of the bureaucratic handcuffs Washington has imposed on job creators. By pursuing a steady agenda to repeal onerous regulations and enact landmark regulatory reform, the cloud of uncertainty hanging over employers of all sizes can be lifted, empowering them to hire more workers and invest in new technologies.

For more information about regulatory reform, the latest developments in Congress, or to sign up for my e-mail newsletter, please visit my website at http://adriansmith.house.gov.

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U.S. Rep. Adrian Smith
Washington Report