Social & Domestic Issues

Congress Needs to Put the Brakes on the EPA Train Wreck

President Obama has sent his proposed $447 billion spending bill to Congress, which he promises will revive our economy from its chronic state of sedation.  The President pledged that his new jobs plan “will provide a jolt to an economy that has stalled and give companies confidence that if they invest and hire, there will be customers for their products and services.”

Regulations Stifle Job Growth 

Yet, while the President continues to preach job creation, his administration continues to prevent it with a regulatory agenda that stifles growth and puts millions of jobs in jeopardy. Regulations that are unnecessary, poorly structured and overly burdensome leave businesses and investors stuck in a complex web of red tape.

EPA Considering 300 New Regs 

President Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency is one of the biggest job-destroying offenders in his administration.  Today, the agency has more than 300 regulatory actions under consideration and it continues to issue new rules at an unprecedented pace.  This includes the agency’s Utility MACT Rule, estimated by the agency to impose new compliance costs of $10.9 billion annually and EPA’s notorious greenhouse gas regulations, estimated to eliminate as many as 1.4 million jobs by 2014.

The President’s promise to restore market confidence stands in contrast to the maze of uncertainty created by the policies of his own administration.  Companies have been forced to lay off workers and stall expansion plans due to EPA’s complex set of new rules.  The first and most logical step to restore economic confidence is to reduce this uncertainty.  With so many looming threats, investors will continue to hold their capital and refrain from investing. 

President Obama acknowledged the chilling effect regulations can have on economic growth when he called on the EPA to stand down on its plans to revisit the 2008 ozone standards—a plan the agency itself projected would impose annual costs of as much as $90 billion.  While I appreciate this recent concession, the ozone rule is just the tip of the regulatory iceberg.  If the President is really serious about job creation he must do much more to rein in EPA’s overreach.

I do not buy into the notion that we must sacrifice jobs for clean air.  I believe regulations are necessary to protect public health and the environment, but they must be administered in a way that does not inflict undue harm on American families and job creators.  Given our economy’s anemic state, it is now more important than ever that we carefully consider the long-term benefits and costs of federal regulation.

Series of House Votes 

Kicking off a series of votes this fall that will put the brakes on EPA’s regulatory train wreck, the House will vote this week on legislation dubbed the TRAIN Act, which will require an interagency committee to study the cumulative impacts of major EPA rules on our economy and jobs.  Included in the analysis are several EPA rules identified by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor on a list of President Obama’s top ten job-killing regulations.  Each of these rules separately holds a hefty price tag, but the total cost to our economy remains unknown.  

 The EPA tries to paint each of its complex rules as a stand-alone measure with burdens our economy can absorb, but job creators know better.  Regulations do not exist in a vacuum. Industries are not faced with just a single rule; they are forced to comply with layers and layers of them.  Before those rules take effect, we must fully understand the consequences for our economy. The TRAIN act will provide for an honest accounting of EPA’s rules. 

America’s job creators are desperate for regulatory relief and House Republicans are taking action to respond to their concerns.  The Energy and Commerce Committee has passed numerous pieces of legislation designed to both create and protect jobs. Taken together, these bills will rescue nearly four million jobs put at risk by the Obama Administration’s regulatory regime while at the same time creating over 150,000 new jobs.

President Obama has promised job creation before, but he has yet to deliver anything more than spools of red tape.  At the very least, we must call on the President to put the breaks on regulation before even more jobs become casualties of EPA’s regulatory train wreck.

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