GOP Jobs Offensive: Rolling Back Job-Killing Regulations

Floor Speech

By:  John Carter
Date: Nov. 16, 2011
Location: Washington, DC

Mr. CARTER. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

We're all glad to be back in the capital city to talk about the regulations that are drowning our country, and we have got some legislation that's going to try to do something about that.

I see that some of my colleagues are here to join me in talking about these things. I've been on the floor of this House now for the last 18 months explaining to people how these regulations are killing jobs in this country. And really what it cuts down to what we need to turn this country around, we don't need big stimulus spending. That didn't work. We tried that. We don't need the government to tell us how to run our business. We need the people to be able to run their business with the government getting out of the way.

And so we have today several bills that we think are going to be very important to tell us just exactly how we can make sense out of this overwhelming amount of regulations.

Thousands of regulations just this year have been proposed, many of which will kill hundreds of thousands of jobs across the country.

I have two of my colleagues that are here. I will first recognize my friend from Kentucky--I think he has somewhere to go--to tell us a little bit about a solution that he has proposed.

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Mr. CARTER. Let me point out that the $1.75 trillion is more than the entire income tax for that year that was collected by this country. So, when you talk about a burden, it's more than the entire tax burden of our Nation for that year.

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Mr. CARTER. I thank the gentleman from Kentucky for the work you've done on the REINS Act.

This is a good bill. This needs to be passed by Congress. I hope that our colleagues over on the Senate sides, when they grab ahold of this, get excited about it and realize that regulations impose more burdens on the American people than this Congress does. In many instances, they come to us and say--Why did you pass this law that puts this burden on us?--when the real issue is they don't understand that it was done by regulations, by people who were not elected, unlike the Members here. We have to answer to our boss, and our boss is the American people. Unfortunately, with regard to these regulations done by the executive branch agencies, I guess the only boss they have to answer to is the President.

In many instances, they're even independent of the President. Some of these regulations are not thought out in the real world. They're, in fact, thought out in the minds of somebody who sits at a desk and just thinks, This has got to be a good idea. Sometimes these good ideas overwhelm us in costs and, quite frankly, interfere with our lives.

So we've been talking about this. The American people are talking about it. When you go home, they want to know, What are you going to do about allowing the businesspeople to have an idea of what the playing field is going to look like? because these regulations are changing the rules every time we look up.

This leads us into what, I think, is another excellent piece of legislation that I'm proud to be a part of. My friend from Wisconsin (Mr. Ribble) is the actual originator of this bill, and I jumped on it with him because I thought it was a good idea.

So I'm going to yield to my friend and let him have a chance to explain this to you and what his idea was and why we both got into this mess of trying to make it clear for those who would make our economy grow, just exactly what the playing field looks like.

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Mr. CARTER. Reclaiming my time, you just said a magic word that I want to repeat--``responsibility.'' Our Founders designed our form of government so that we defined rights in our Bill of Rights, but it also points out where the responsibility lies. And I would argue that these creations of regulatory acts, it allows people to avoid being responsible. They pass a law in Congress for the timber industry, and they give the authority to a branch of the executive to write rules to implement that legislation, and it allows this Congress to hide from those regulations. It's one of the reasons I've been talking up here for a year and a half now about regulations.

We all know our rights. It's time for those of us who have accepted a position of responsibility to be responsible. And when an unknown bureaucrat in a cubbyhole somewhere in the vast jungle of offices in this town can write a regulation that affects the very lives of American citizens--and he's going to get his paycheck. Nobody elected him. He's not going to get fired. You don't get run off for writing that regulation. He has been assigned to do rules and regulations. He doesn't take responsibility for it. He's hiding as a bureaucrat back there as civil servant.

It's time for the Congress to step back up, based on the Articles of the Constitution that you just read, and

take our responsibility. And then those of us who answer to the people every 2 years and every 6 years--they're our bosses. They're the people who have hired us for this job. And when they have one of these regulations, they have somebody they can go to and say, You need to be responsible for implementing the regulatory moratorium and for stopping these regulations. They are killing us.

Let me just give you some examples real quickly that we've gathered on just some stuff that--these are current events. This is like looking back at current events for the last 6 or 8 months.

EPA greenhouse gas regulations, the potential job loss as a result of those regulations, 1.4 million jobs; new utility regulations, 1.4 million jobs; offshore oil and gas lease delays, 504,000 jobs; offshore drilling permitorium--they say they are going to introduce permits, but then they just don't ever get right around to doing it--430,000 jobs; reclassification of coal ash as hazardous--it affects this area right here--316,000 jobs; the new boiler regs that are coming out, 60,000 jobs; the Alaska drilling delays, 57,000 jobs; the new cement kiln regulations, 15,000 jobs. Just that little block adds up to 4,182,000 jobs that regulations are going to add to the unemployment rolls at a time when we have got unemployment at 9 percent.

And, by the way, I like the concept that you introduced and explained to me: Go back to what the unemployment was at the time that this administration came into being, 7.8 percent. I think that's more than reasonable.

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Mr. CARTER. I think that's creative thinking. We need to get unemployment below 7.8 percent. But it's a good point to start, and it gives us an opportunity to target what I honestly believe and a lot of economists agree with: The real solution to this situation we're in with our country right now is to get Americans back to work.

The President believes one more stimulus. The last one didn't work. The massive spending, the trillions of dollars of additional debt we've accumulated in the last 3 years didn't quite work. It wasn't quite big enough. We need to do it just one more time. And this time it will push it over the top. Well, I just don't think that the American people are buying it. They're watching the current events of today, where we loan money to companies that didn't have a concept that was going to pay for itself, and they're going broke; where we threw money at a problem instead of putting some common sense into the problem.

As a businessman, you nailed it. And you were one. For a while in my life I was a small businessman. You've got to know what's around the corner. You can't hire somebody if there's unknown around the corner. Because when you hire them, you get around the corner, you might have to fire them because that unknown is going to make it to where it's not profitable for you to have this person who you hope will make your business more profitable. They would make it less profitable.

People don't seem to understand around here. They think people hire people because somebody gives them a tax incentive or there's some incentive. Somebody gives them a little extra money this month. No, you hire someone to make your business more profitable. It's about prospering in your business. If you don't need somebody to prosper your business, you're not going to hire them. And all of the incentives in the world aren't going to make you hire somebody that doesn't make your business work. Whether you're a little bitty business or the biggest business in the world, that's the way it works.

So the reality is, as they plan--and, you know, there was a time, I read an article on this, there was a time when business planning was relatively short term. In fact, one of the things that came out of the Great Depression was the concept of long-term planning, both short-term, mid-term, and long-term planning for a businessman because you needed to know not only what was around the next 2 years, or the next 5 years. You needed to know around at least the next 10 years.

That's one of the reasons why when we have these tax bills that we have passed that will just end on a certain day, well, if you know it's going to end, you have to plan around it. You plan to avoid it, but when that drop-dead date comes up like we've got on the Bush tax cuts they call them around here, businessmen are looking at those and asking: What's that going to mean to my bottom line? I don't know, so I'm not hiring. I'm not expanding my business. I'm not building a building because I don't know what that means. Unknown regulations in the minds of regulators could change my world, could absolutely shake my world.

So this--and right at this time in this economy, when the number one thing you hear from every businessman you talk to is the unknown, whether it be the new financial regulations which have made financing unknown, whether it be the hidden tax increases in the health care bill, or whether it be regulations that we don't understand that we were surprised to get, we don't know what's going to happen, so we're not doing anything. We're sitting with our hands in our pockets, hope there's a little money in those pockets while we sit there, and we're not doing anything until we know what is going on. That's why this moratorium is perfect--perfect.

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Mr. CARTER. Absolutely. You'd be dealing with the EPA. You'd be dealing with fish. You'd be dealing with the situation on endangered species, and that's clear down to the microscopic animals that you can't even see. All that. There's no way the Hoover Dam would get built like that.

There was a thing on the History Channel, I guess it was the night before last that I watched, about the building of the Alaskan highway. We had gone to war with Japan, and everybody looked at the United States and said my gosh, the Aleutian Islands, a part of the Alaskan--at that time Alaskan Territory, they're right close to the Japanese, and they're probably going to invade those islands. And how are we going to get materials, supplies, and men up to Alaska? There was no road between the United States and Alaska.

Nobody checked a single regulatory act. Nobody did anything but say: Get every bulldozer we've got and head for the border. We're cutting a road straight up through Canada. We'll design it on the way up there. We'll direction it on the way up there. They took off and they built a road. It was a gravel road, but it was the first road that connected the lower 48 to Alaska.

I looked at that thing and I said: My gosh, they wouldn't have gotten a mile and a half before they would have been enjoined by every kind of group on God's green Earth in this country under the present regulations we have in place, not even expanded regulations which are getting worse, the present regulations.

So when the President made that famous statement now that I've enjoyed very much, he laughed and said that I found out shovel-ready today is not really shovel-ready. And it's exactly the same regulations we're talking about here that keep it from being shovel-ready.

We're building about a 21-mile stretch of highway in my home county--trying to build one. We've been at it for 8 years. The money's in place. Section 1 has got bulldozers sitting on the ground because section 1 has been approved, and we're still trying to get 21 miles of road built through regulations.

I will say now, after a little work on our part, some regulators are being pretty reasonable, and we want to thank them for it. But the days of the Hoover Dam and the Alaskan highway will never come back, not with the regulatory environment we have here. What we're trying to do is not let this thing expand any further. We're not trying to kill species. We're not trying to mess up the air, like you said, or the water. We're trying to say we've got a good situation in place.

By the way, Mr. President, if it's a national security issue or a national emergency, submit it to us. Tell us what the emergency is. Let's visit with it, and if that's the case, this Congress will be reasonable. If we need review of the courts and the individuals need review of the courts, we provide that in here. It's very respectful of other people's consideration on these rights. For a small bill, there's a lot of good thinking in this bill.

Let me just read you something. This came out in the Columbus Dispatch. This is a quote from there:

Obama's massive intrusions into the heart of the Nation's economy have not helped: Buying auto manufacturers and running roughshod over bankruptcy law and investor rights in the process, taking over the sixth of the economy devoted to health care, imposing a new regulatory regime on the financial sector and spending hundreds of billions of borrowed dollars with no very great benefit.

Add to this the recent actions of the Democrat-controlled National Labor Relations Board. Perhaps its most damaging move has been to bring legal action against aircraft manufacturer Boeing Company for building a manufacturing plant in South Carolina. The NLRB seeks to punish a company for creating new jobs, at a time when unemployment is more than 9 percent and the Nation's economic growth barely registers.

The chilling effect on other companies that are considering building new plants is incalculable.

These moves have cowed, usurped, paralyzed or blocked the private-sector decision-making that is necessary to get the Nation moving again.

That's a quote from the Columbus Dispatch on 9/5/11, this year. And that's a perfect statement of a big picture of the regulatory burden that's made the papers. But you can have just as much trouble with one bug. So, as we deal with this, we've got to have something that says King's X until we get this economy back rolling.

I will once again yield to my friend, and you tell me if you've got other things you want to talk about.

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Mr. CARTER. And when the American people hear that once again we've got over 20 bills that could have done something to turn this economy around that have been tabled, I hope they will ask themselves, Why did the Senate table my job? Because everything's about jobs. When you table a piece of legislation, you're tabling somebody's job.

One of the things that a lot of people don't understand--and that's just because they don't think about it; once they start thinking about it, they can understand it--that they hear something like the pipeline. I happen to have spent every summer of my life from the time I was 15 until I graduated from law school working on pipelines. I have worked on pipelines in Texas, Louisiana, and overseas in the Netherlands in Europe, and in Belgium. So I'm an old laborer on the pipeline. When you hear ``pipeline,'' you think the pipeline of the pipeline. But the number of people involved in laying a pipeline and the number of assorted jobs you don't even think about that are involved in that are overwhelming. In many instances, you've got to cut roads out to where the pipeline is going to be. So you've got road builders involved, you've got gravel haulers, and in some instances asphalt layers, if the farmer will let you.

You've got the pipe. The pipe industry is making pipe. The welders are welding the joints. The people that are surveying are surveying the project. The heavy machinery is digging the ditch. Many individuals are cleaning the ditch with hand shovels because it's got to be a certain way, or you get a process which can cause the pipe to have an electrical charge on it. Engineers are engineering it; scientists are studying it. The product that's going to flow down that pipeline is being tested so that you see what stress levels you're going to have. It creates jobs, not just a pipe; but there are hundreds and hundreds of industries that are tied to just laying a pipeline.

If you're drilling an oil well, the same thing. Those offshore drill rigs, you know who got hurt bad on that? The guys that feed those people out there on those rigs and the helicopter pilots that fly the food out there. I mean, it shut down restaurants and closed down helicopter businesses in the gulf coast when we had the moratorium. We forget those little guys that are providing those services for the big ExxonMobil or some other platform out there. But in reality, there's thousands of small businesses connected to any major project like that.

A minimum number of jobs for that construction on the pipeline, it's been estimated, is 25,000 jobs. I can tell you, unless the world has changed a whole lot since I was a kid, it's the best-paying job for a laborer that I could find in the State of Texas for a kid my age. I worked until I was 26 years old on those things in the summertime, and it still was the best-paying part-time job I could find anywhere in the State of Texas, or even better, in Europe.

So the point being that there is a domino effect when there is a big project like this, or the lumber industry you were describing in your State, or the shipping industry on the Great Lakes. It's not just ships that are involved in the shipping industry. It's hundreds of other professions that are involved in the shipping industry.

And when we start thinking about that concept, when you go out and hit the big guy--people around this country have got this idea that big guys, big things are bad, and they don't realize that it takes hundreds and sometimes thousands of little guys to keep the big guy's project going. They're all making a living and they're all raising their families and having their homes based upon that project. This is the concept of what capitalism does and free enterprise does for our country.

And when the regulators stop something like that pipeline, or when they put a moratorium on it until after the election so you don't have to talk about it during election time, that hurts little guys as well as big guys. And it's a wrong concept. We've got to make this country once again prosper, and it takes a lot of things to make it prosper. So we're just asking for the government not to be one of the hindrances. And I think that's what makes this a great bill.

We're just about out of time. I want to thank you for joining me and explaining the bill and allowing me to be an original cosponsor with you on this bill so we can work this together. I will do everything within my power to assist you in getting this bill to this floor and passed through this House; and hopefully Senator Johnson will get it done over in the Senate, and we'll help him where we can. And it will be good for America to say time out, time out on these regulations.

Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.