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Red Tape Reduction and Small Business Job Creation Act

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. LANKFORD. While I can certainly, certainly empathize and have tremendous compassion for the families involved and for the individuals involved in this, OSHA has been working through this rule since 2009. It has been in the advanced rulemaking phase for a very long time. The struggle they have is this large one-size-fits-all approach. Even under the passage of this particular bill, OSHA has some great options.

Option No. 1 for them: to narrow their rulemaking. They're doing a large one-size-fits-all to try to cover all types of dust, all types of factories, all types of places. If they were to narrow their rule to specific types of places, they would be well under the $100 million limit.

The second rule they have is very clear: that this bill, itself, already sets in an exemption for health and safety. Clearly, this would be within those guidelines of health and safety. The President could do an executive order and pass that and then allow them to move forward, or he could come back to Congress.

The thought that only the folks at OSHA are compassionate about issues like this fails even the most modest of tests. Obviously, people who are within Congress are also compassionate to the needs here. If a regulation comes that deals with a problem in a commonsense manner that can function, certainly Congress would be able to approve that, and certainly a President is going to have tremendous compassion for the health and safety of individuals if they're able to come up with a regulation that clearly deals with this.

So, while I have tremendous compassion for these families and look forward to OSHA's completing what they have been stalling on for 3 years, this bill already deals with this, and this exception is not needed in addition to this.

I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. LANKFORD. How unfortunate to have the implication that Members of Congress, including myself--I have workers in my district who live with this same thing--would not have compassion for people in our districts. OSHA has not completed this regulation. They have delayed this. They've had multiple options. They need to complete their work. There is a work safety issue that's here.

As it is currently, the bill stands up strong for worker safety. It allows any exception for worker safety currently in this bill. So, while exceptions are pursued to add additional things into this bill, the bill, itself, already contains those things.

With that, I yield back the balance of my time.

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Mr. LANKFORD. I thank my colleague for bringing this up, but this again is something that is obviously dealt with already in the text of the bill. As we anticipated, there would be issues like this. On page 3, line 23 of the bill, it actually states the President has the ability, by executive order, in dealing with any significant regulatory action to go ahead and waive this, if it's necessary, because of an imminent threat to health or safety or other emergency.

This is already dealt with in the bill itself. While we do need to be able to deal with this, and obviously the vast majority of electricity providers are very attentive to their workers, including the companies that are in my district, and take great pride in how they care for the health and safety of the workers that are on those lines and that are out there in very dangerous situations, it is a very important thing to them. We have the ability already within this bill to be able to address that. For that reason, I would oppose this.

With that, I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. LANKFORD. Madam Chair, one quick statement.

This particular rule is unique in a lot of our conversation because it's already gone through the process. Currently, the OIRA office has, in fact, had it for the last 30 days. They could issue this at any point. This is right at that point that it's going to be released. It wouldn't even fall underneath this bill. Obviously, we pass this bill tonight, we send it over to the Senate, it works through the process. OIRA can release this at any point that they choose to.

While I again have tremendous compassion for the workers that are on the lines, and I have tremendous respect for electric companies around the country and how they take care of their workers, this particular rule has already gone through the process, it already sits in OIRA, and it would not apply to them. With that and also with the knowledge that we have the exceptionary built in for safety, I would choose to oppose this and continue to do that.

With that, I yield back the balance of my time.

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Mr. LANKFORD. I rise in support of this amendment as well. I am grateful for the bipartisan cooperation and forgetting a chance to find more transparency as well as how the Equal Access to Justice Act of 1980 is being implemented. Unfortunately, it seems that some special interest groups, particularly some environmental groups, of late are abusing EAJA. They're financing lawsuits to advance a special agenda.

This amendment does shine light on who is receiving attorneys' fees under EAJA by revising and improving EAJA's reporting requirements, which have not been revised in many years. American taxpayers do deserve to know how their money is being spent by the Federal Government, regardless of what the interest group is and where it is coming from, and to know to what extent the financing is being used to advance any kind of ideology.

For these reasons, I do support this amendment, and I am grateful for the bipartisan support.

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