By Representative Tim Scott
'Falling off a cliff" -- when you read that phrase, there is no doubt what image comes to your mind. Sadly, that is where our nation's regulatory environment has been pushed after years of inching closer and closer to the edge.
I recently traveled throughout the Lowcountry meeting with small business owners and hearing their personal stories of how burdensome and overreaching federal regulations have harmed their ability to do business. I talked with truckers, fishermen, construction workers and builders, and even a company, Blue Flame, which services fireplaces like many of us have in our living rooms. Yes, you read that correctly -- the U.S. Department of Energy is proposing to come into our homes and regulate gas fireplaces. Now that is a scary thought, and a massive federal overreach.
We heard from a recreational fisherman, Capt. Keith Logan, who due to federal catch limits, which were determined to have used outdated science, stands to lose up to $27,000 this year because of cancelled charter tours. Because our fishermen want to fish next season, too, not one of them wants to overfish our waters.
We talked with Bulldog Hiway Express in North Charleston, where a proposed U.S. Department of Transportation rule regulating the number of hours a trucker can drive in a day will take $6,000 away from their families a year. The federal DOT says this rule is to make our roads safer, while seemingly ignoring the fact that under the current rules the number of truck-related fatalities has dropped by nearly 40 percent since 2006.
Finally, we heard from developer Jeff Meyer, who, due to new rules put in place by the Dodd-Frank bill, was turned down for a loan at 25 banks before finally having to turn to his own equity to start his home building business. As a former small business owner myself, I cannot tell you how scary that is to do -- and only necessary because of a government overreaction.
These are real-world examples of what excessive federal regulations can and will do to our small businesses if we do not take a stand.
How are these hard-working families going to pay their mortgages or send their kids to college when the U.S. government is standing in their way? How can the federal government say it cares more about your family than you do?
It simply doesn't make sense.
For some reason, as many politicians cross the Potomac River, they start to believe the federal government creates jobs. That is simply not true; but it is true the federal government has the power to destroy them. This year alone, more than 60,000 pages have been added to the Federal Register containing new rules and regulations which will cost nearly $70 billion in compliance and implementation costs.
In the House, we have taken some important first steps, with 22 jobs-related bills having passed this year. Simply put, it is time for the Senate to put politics aside and bring this legislation up for a vote. This includes my bill, the Protecting Jobs From Government Interference Act, which passed in September.
We can and we will put America back on the right track, but that requires one important step -- get the federal government out of the way. We became the greatest nation on Earth because of the ingenuity, creativity and hard work of our job creators.
And once Washington gets out of the way of these job creators, Americans will go back to work again.
Tim Scott, a Republican, represents South Carolina's 1st District in the U.S. House.