An Avalanche of Red Tape
One of the primary impediments to economic recovery is the avalanche of new rules, regulations and red tape coming out of Washington, all of which impose huge costs on business and create a destructive environment of uncertainty in the private sector.
Government regulations cost our economy over $1.75 trillion per year, or nearly 12% of GDP. The 2011 Federal Register, which is the official journal of the federal government and contains all proposed and final regulations, stands at 81,247 pages. That number is just below 2010's all-time record-high of 81,405 pages.
In 2011, federal agencies issued 3,807 final rules, compared to only 81 bills passed by Congress and signed into law by the President. Congress is delegating an excessive amount of its lawmaking power to unelected bureaucrats.
Since January 2009, the Obama administration has imposed at least 106 new major regulations with reported costs to the private sector exceeding $46 billion, plus almost $11 billion more in implementation costs.
The number of federal bureaucrats employed by regulatory agencies has increased 13% since President Obama took office. No other President has burdened businesses and individuals with a higher number and larger cost of regulations in a comparable period of time.
This torrent of new red tape is expected to continue, as hundreds of new financial, health care and environmental regulations stemming from Dodd-Frank, Obamacare and the EPA advance through the regulatory pipeline.
In fact, sixty federal departments, agencies and commissions have 4,128 regulations in play at various stages of implementation. Of those, 212 regulations in the pipeline are considered "economically significant," or rules wielding at least $100 million in economic impact.
Andy Barr's Plan to Reign in Costly Regulations
In order to reign in the regulatory burden on the economy, I support the following reforms that would (1) increase scrutiny of new and existing regulations and (2) remove obstacles to job creation imposed by destructive and ineffective regulations:
Challenge the Obama Administration's appointment of unaccountable "czars" as principal officers of the Executive Branch without Senate confirmation.
Immediately pass the REINS Act, which would require congressional approval before any new major regulation takes effect. This would ensure a congressional check on regulators, reinvigorate the non-delegation doctrine, and force Congress to be more accountable to the American people.
Pass legislation to defer all new major regulations until unemployment falls to 7.7 percent, just below what it was when Barack Obama was inaugurated.
Require the Congressional Budget Office to review proposed and existing rules independently, without reliance on the Executive Branch and the Office of Management and Budget.
Establish a sunset date for all federal regulations, requiring all rules to automatically expire if not specifically reaffirmed by the agency through notice and comment rulemaking.
Amend the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act to require independent agencies to identify the costs of their proposed regulations.
Repeal the Dodd-Frank law, which is killing small community banks, tying up loans to small businesses and crippling home sales.
Reform the Environmental Protection Agency so that it works collaboratively with local government and industry to achieve better results.
Modernize the Food and Drug Administration to get lifesaving medicines and technologies to patients faster.
Deprive the National Labor Relations Board of authority to punish private non-union employers for locating in a right to work state.