Mr. BONNER. Madam Speaker, while long-term unemployment is now worse than at any time since the Great Depression and while Americans in growing numbers are becoming more and more concerned about the direction their country is heading, the one thing that is uniting Americans is the realization that their Federal Government is unnecessarily getting in the way of job creators, of both small and large businesses alike, by tying the hands of employers with bureaucratic redtape and over-the-top, unnecessary and often duplicative regulation.
A recent Tarrance Group survey found that three-quarters of the American people believe that businesses and consumers are overregulated. Another two-thirds believe that regulations have increased over the past few years. Americans, understandably so, are concerned that regulations will create a hindrance to job creation, and most believe that new regulation will either bring more job losses or increased prices.
Madam Speaker, the American people have good reason to be concerned. From higher taxes on workers and businesses to the greater intrusion by the Federal Government into personal health care decisions, there has been plenty of evidence that this administration wants to grow the size and reach and scope of government in ways that we have never before seen in the history of America. At any time, the heavy hand of Big Government regulation is bad news for jobs, but during the middle of the worst recession since the Great Depression, it defies common sense for government to place even more roadblocks in front of struggling businesses.
While largely unseen by the public and, more times than not, not even debated here on the floor of Congress, Federal regulations directly impact jobs and job creation. A Small Business Administration report released just last September, in September of 2010, noted that Federal regulations cost businesses $1.7 trillion each year and that small businesses, in particular, bear a disproportionate share of these costs, averaging over $10,000 for each employee.
Along America's gulf coast, we have recently experienced the direct impact of Federal Government overreach in the oil production industry. The administration's de facto moratorium on new oil drilling has cost our region of the country tens of thousands of jobs--some say as few as 30,000, others as many as 70,000 jobs that have been lost--at a time when the gulf coast is still struggling to recover from the worst manmade disaster in American history.
Just last week, I visited several large and small manufacturers in south Alabama, in Alabama's First Congressional District, that are doing their very best to turn a profit under the mantle of increased Federal regulation.
In one case, a small manufacturer with 28 employees related how they cannot expand their production due to new Federal regulations. In fact, they are now being forced to downsize. Incredibly, when EPA visits companies to perform audits, oftentimes they take away whole file drawers or cabinets full of records. The small business owners pay taxes on company profits from their personal income taxes, and they have to keep a consultant on retainer just to stay in compliance with all of the regulations. A medium-sized manufacturer we visited last week told me--and they've got plants in other States as well, not just in Alabama--that the new proposed regulations that they are looking at would cost their company alone over $100 million in new regulation.
During his jobs speech to Congress, in this very Chamber just last month, the President admitted that government regulations on businesses serve to dampen job creation. He even suggested that he would be willing to work with Congress to review such actions. But in the following weeks, there has been little evidence to suggest that the President is serious.
Let me be clear: Federal regulations do have their place in ensuring the safety of both workers and consumers. Federal laws have contributed greatly to maintaining our clean air and water as well as the safety of our transportation system, our food and consumer products, to name but just a few. No one is saying we shouldn't have any regulation. But for all the good that a responsible government can provide with reasonable oversight, make no mistake that overzealous regulation can stifle our economy and contribute to a reduced quality of life for all Americans. That is why House Republicans are working to pass legislation to rein in out-of-control Federal regulations that strangle job creation.
Last week, the House passed the TRAIN Act. If enacted into law, this one bill would prevent the administration from imposing some of the most controversial new EPA rules, which further threaten job creation and the economy. It would also force the administration to review the impact of new regulations before they're applied. Today, the House is considering two additional significant regulatory reform bills--the Cement Sector Regulatory Relief Act of 2011 and the EPA Regulatory Relief Act of 2011.
I urge that Congress pass this and help put the government on the side of the American workers and job creators, not against them.