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Public Statements

Red Tape Reduction and Small Business Job Creation Act

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. SMITH of Texas. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Chairman, America's economic recovery remains sluggish, with the national unemployment rate above 8 percent for over 40 months. The President promised that his $800 billion spending bill would keep unemployment under 8 percent. Instead, the spending bill only added to the deficit, which has doubled under this administration.

More than 12 million Americans are out of work, 700,000 more than when President Obama took office; and the median income of American families has dropped too.

The President's economic policies have failed, and his regulatory policies have made the economy worse. A recent Gallup poll found that among the 85 percent of U.S. small businesses that are not hiring, nearly half cited ``being worried about new government regulations'' as the reason.

President Obama has turned America into a regulation Nation. A Heritage Foundation study found that in his first 3 years in office, President Obama implemented 106 major rules that imposed $46 billion in additional annual regulatory costs on the private sector. That's a new record.

The President promised in his 2011 State of the Union address to fix ``rules that put an unnecessary burden on businesses,'' but he has gone in the opposite direction. We need to encourage businesses to expand, not tie them up with red tape.

Today, Congress continues to fight the constricting red tape that comes from Washington by offering commonsense solutions that deserve bipartisan support. And that's what we do today.

Members of the Judiciary Committee introduced three of the titles in the Red Tape Reduction and Small Business Job Creation Act. Mr. Griffin's Regulatory Freeze for Jobs Act gives small businesses a much-needed break from new regulations that cost the economy $100 million or more until the unemployment rate stabilizes at 6 percent.

The Freeze Act is narrowly tailored to stop unnecessary economically significant regulations. It contains reasonable exceptions, such as health and safety, criminal or civil rights laws, trade agreements, and national security. The Freeze Act gives job creators confidence about future regulatory conditions, which will encourage them to make the investments that will jump-start our economy.

The RAPID Act, introduced by the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Ross), helps to create jobs as it streamlines the Federal environmental review and permitting process. It draws upon established definitions and concepts from existing regulations and even from the administration's own recommendations.

Employers and investors can't move forward without necessary permits and without confidence in the process. The RAPID Act establishes reasonable, predictable deadlines for agencies to complete the permit review process and for lawsuits to be filed afterwards.

The Sunshine for Regulatory Decrees and Settlements Act, introduced by the gentleman from Arizona (Mr. Quayle), ends the abuse of consent decrees and settlements to require more regulations.

For many years, regulatory advocates and agencies have used consent decrees and settlements to establish new rules in secrecy, outside the regular rule-making procedures that provide for transparency and public participation. The ``sue and settle'' approach has enabled agencies to impose higher costs and avoid accountability since they can claim ``the court made us do it.''

Mr. Quayle's legislation makes sure that the public and those affected by regulations have a say in these decrees and settlements. It also requires greater judicial scrutiny and helps to prevent an outgoing administration from unfairly setting its successor's agenda through consent decrees. These and all of the titles of the Red Tape Reduction and Small Business Job Creation Act provide needed relief to small businesses.

Economic growth depends on job creators, not Federal regulators. This legislation frees up businesses to spend more, invest more, and produce more in order to create more jobs for American workers. I urge my colleagues to support this commonsense bill.

Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Could I begin by asking the distinguished chairman of the House Judiciary Committee this following inquiry: Is it not true that the United States of America has less regulation than almost any other industrialized country in the Western Hemisphere?

I am pleased to yield to the gentleman from Texas to respond.

Mr. SMITH of Texas. I have no idea whether we have more or fewer regulations than other countries. I do know this: we have far more regulations today than we had 3 years ago. And I also know that the Obama administration has set a new record in the number of expensive, unnecessary regulations that it has suggested and implemented.

I thank the gentleman for yielding.

Mr. CONYERS. Well, the gentleman is welcome. His answer is no, he doesn't know. And I'm going to, in the course of this debate, try to share with him the fact that other industrialized nations have far more regulations than us, just to put things into some kind of relative proportion.

Members of the House of Representatives, Joseph Stiglitz has talked about the subject of regulation. Here is something that he had to say about it that I think will set us in the right frame of mind to examine dispassionately the principle that is under examination this afternoon. He said this:

The subject of regulation has been one of the most contentious, with critics arguing that regulations interfere with the efficiency of the market, and advocates arguing that well-designed regulation not only makes markets more efficient, but also helps to ensure the market outcome is more equitable. Interestingly, as the economy plunges into a slowdown, if not a recession, with more than 2 million Americans expected to lose their homes, there is a growing consensus there was a need for more government regulation. If it is the case that better regulations could have prevented or even mitigated the downturn, the country and the world will be paying a heavy price for the failure to regulate adequately, and the social costs are no less grave, as hundreds of thousands of Americans will not only have lost their homes, but their lifetime savings as well.

And so the measure before us, H.R. 4078, by stopping or delaying rules from going into effect, seriously jeopardizes the safety and the soundness of our Nation's economy and our society generally.

Another fundamental problem with this proposal is that it myopically focuses on the cost of regulations while largely ignoring their overwhelming benefits. So this measure, with its misleadingly short title, will not result in creating jobs for one simple reason: there is no credible evidence establishing that regulations have any substantive impact on job creation.

With that, Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. SMITH of Texas. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself 30 seconds to respond to a question that the gentleman from Michigan posed a few minutes ago.

Mr. Chairman, I'd like to include for the Record an article from earlier this year that appeared in The Economist magazine. This is a magazine that is one of the oldest, most respected sources of news and analysis, and it is favorably disposed toward the Obama administration. But it published an article detailing how the Obama administration systematically manipulates the cost-benefit analysis in agency rulemaking.

This manipulation deliberately inflates benefits and minimizes the cost, the article says. The Economist goes so far as to call the administration's cost-benefit analysis ``highly suspect'' and ``subject to the whims of the people in power.''

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