While Nebraska continues to see a strong job market, the national economy remains weak with unemployment above 8 percent for 39 consecutive months. The tepid pace of growth is due in large part to the overregulation coming out of Washington, paralyzing employers with uncertainty. And just as a rising tide lifts all boats, the opposite is also true. Failure to rein in out-of-control regulations will result in lasting damage to our country, and all Americans will pay the price.
The reality is federal rules and red tape disproportionately affect small businesses, the very entrepreneurs responsible for our economic dynamism. The current Administration has proposed 3,118 regulations, with 167 considered "economically significant" -- meaning they will cost our economy $100 million or more each! In fact, since President Obama took office, there has been a 52 percent increase in final regulations deemed economically significant. We can't create a fair system for job creators by continually changing the rules, and we can't help job seekers by subjecting their would be employers to even more red tape.
A recent Kearney Hub editorial pointed out "it took 15 years, from 1983 to 1998, and cost Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District in Holdrege $16.3 million to federally relicense its four power plants." In recent months, this tidal wave of regulations has threatened Nebraska's vibrant agriculture economy. We've already seen the EPA attempt to regulate farm dust and the Labor Department try to restrict youth involvement in agriculture.
Passing major regulatory reform has been a top priority for me during the 112th Congress. I have voted to pass dozens of bipartisan jobs bills which would provide relief from record amounts of red tape, including the REINS Act, the Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act, and the Regulatory Accountability Act. The Wall Street Journal called these efforts, "the largest overhaul of the rule-making process and larger administrative state since Ronald Reagan, and perhaps longer." Unfortunately, the vast majority of these commonsense reforms remain stalled in the Senate, where the President's party is blocking them from being taken up for a vote.
In an effort to better educate my colleagues in Congress on both sides of the aisle -- and in both chambers -- about the overregulation hurting our economy, I want to share your perspective. If you are a small business owner trying to create jobs in the Third District, I want to hear your experiences and what steps you feel Congress should take to lessen the heavy hand of government. You can share your stories by going to my website, http://adriansmith.house.gov/Regulations. They will not be for public dissemination, and your story only will be shared publicly if I receive permission from you to do so.
Over the past five years, I have had the opportunity to hear from literally hundreds of thousands of Nebraskans - through in-person meetings, mobile offices, community events and telephone town halls. Hearing from you helps me do my job better. I'll take your experiences and advice to Washington and work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to fight against excessive regulation. For the sake of our farm families and Nebraska's economy, this is a fight we cannot afford to lose.