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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. ROSS of Florida. Madam Chair, this amendment would unnecessarily exempt regulations from title I and consent decrees and settlement agreements contained in title III. Title I already contains adequate exceptions for necessary covered regulations. Agencies do not yet need another loophole to make regulations by consent decree or settlement agreement.

As to title V, the part of the bill that was formerly known as the Responsibly and Professionally Invigorating Development Act, also known as the RAPID Act, this amendment would block needed construction projects from breaking ground.

Unemployment is stuck above 8 percent and millions of Americans are looking for work. The March 2011 Project No Project study identified 351 energy projects, including nuclear projects, that, if approved, could generate $1.1 trillion for the economy and 1.9 million jobs.

I appreciate that the gentleman is concerned about the safety of nuclear power, but this act does not require agencies to approve or deny any particular project or permit application, nor would any agency ever act on a permit application before all of the relevant review and analysis has been completed; rather, the act establishes a reasonable timetable for agencies to follow when conducting environmental review and making permitting decisions. This will give job creators and investors confidence that the process will not drag on indefinitely.

The act is consistent with the administration's own guidance and rhetoric and with the President's Jobs Council's recommendations. It builds upon bipartisan legislation that passed the 109th Congress, which has dramatically reduced the time it takes to prepare environmental impact statements for transportation projects. In short, the road to economic recovery runs through permit streamlining.

For these reasons, I oppose the amendment, and I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. ROSS of Florida. Madam Chair, let's look at this. If the sponsoring agency decides to hold back and there is a presumption or approval, who better to have the onus of having to prove that it should not be built than those who fail to act as opposed to those who are ready to act?

The one thing that we found out is that the regulatory environment is so burdensome that whatever recovery our country attempts to pursue right now is being strangled. Polls show it. A Gallup poll on February 15 of 2012 among 85 percent of U.S. small business owners who are not hiring, nearly 46 percent of these cited being worried about new government regulations. Small business owners cite complying with government regulations as their most important problem.

It is overwhelming that we have placed in the hands of bureaucratic agencies unaccountable authority that is strangling the business recovery of this country. This bill as it is, without this amendment, will allow for the streamlining and 4 1/2 years of the permitting process, and the permitting process will allow us to invest private capital to create private sector jobs.

With that, I urge opposition to this amendment and yield back the balance of my time.

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