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Red Tape Reduction and Small Business Job Creation Act

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. CONNOLLY of Virginia. Madam Chairman, my simple amendment would clarify the congressional procedure for acting on the President's written congressional waiver request as provided for in the bill.

Based on their remarks today, it appears my friends on the other side of the aisle view the availability of congressional waivers as sufficient to ensure commonsense, popular safeguards such as rules benefiting veterans with catastrophic injuries, assisting students with loan debt, or providing families with peace of mind that the peanut butter their children eat will not poison them.

So they are not blocked by this bill's arbitrary across-the-board moratorium action on significant rulemaking actions because there is a waiver provision.

Yet for all of the emphasis on the importance of these congressional waivers, this bill, H.R. 4078, only provides vague, unclear guidance concerning how such actions would proceed on the President's waiver requests. H.R. 4078 only specifies that Congress shall give each submission by the President ``expeditious consideration'' and take ``appropriate legislative action'' without defining these terms in statute. Anyone who has watched this 112th Congress here in the House knows that they shouldn't put undue faith in terms like ``expeditious consideration.''

Republican claims to the contrary notwithstanding, as currently written, the congressional waiver provisions seem designed to spur effective talking points, not exactly an efficient process for considering Presidential submissions.

My simple amendment ensures that if the President requests a necessary and urgent waiver, such as the flexibility for the Department of Labor to issue a rule protecting coal miners from black lung disease, expeditious consideration shall not take longer than 1 week. This simple amendment takes no position on the wisdom of the given waiver request. It simply requires the Congress, whether it decides to approve or disapprove a President's request, to do so within 7 days.

As the numerous amendments filed by my colleagues demonstrate, the majority of the President's waiver requests will address noncontroversial, yet critically important, rules that protect our Nation's veterans, families, workers, environment, and economy. By supporting this perfecting amendment, Members will ensure that no American is endangered because of congressional inaction.

I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. CONNOLLY of Virginia. Of course I know my friend from Arkansas knows his history. That was the whole battle of Federalist versus anti-Federalist. The Federalists won out. That's how the Constitution of the United States got adopted, a more powerful government to help the union of the States.

Madam Chairman, I will close by simply noting the irony of opposing any kind of finite time limit. The very organization cited by my friend from Arkansas, NFIB, screams the loudest about uncertainty. Yet here we are, going to have expeditious consideration that could take weeks or months here in this body, and we're not going to put a finite time limit to give them the predictability and the certainty that they say they want. I think it's the minimum required in this legislation if we really mean to effectuate change.

I yield back the balance of my time.

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