Guest column submitted by U.S. Senator Mike Crapo
My heart goes out to the bookkeepers and small business owners across the nation who spend hours wading through thousands of pages of often-puzzling and changing federal regulation to conduct business. The Mercatus Center reported that in 2011 Americans had to comply with 165,000 pagesof federal regulations. This bureaucracy is an unnecessary drain on our economy that impedes our nation's growth. That is why as part of the solution for the fiscal crisis I will continue to advocate for eliminating unreasonable federal regulation that hinders the ability of American businesses to expand and increase jobs.
Unraveling the knot of over-regulation may be difficult, but action must be taken to reduce the burden on small businesses to encourage innovation, job opportunities and success in the world market. I do not suggest we eliminate needed health, safety and consumer protections, nor decrease the ability to address bad actions and the capacity to leave our communities and nation in better condition for our children and grandchildren. However, we must remove the excessive layers of regulation that are not providing benefits but are just bogging down innovation. One action I am supporting requires the Administration to account for job loss and economic impacts when proposing new rules and require congressional approval of federal rules that may have a $100 million or more effect on our economy.
In addition, we do not have to look far to find regulations or proposed regulations that are in need of cleanup. For example, I continue to fight aggressive attempts to drastically expand federal power over Idaho's water sovereignty and private property rights. I have supported legislation to restrict the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from requiring duplicative pesticide permitting and regulating dust in rural America, while maintaining public healthprotections. It is no surprise that the EPA leads the federal agencies withthe most regulatory actions currently under review. In other areas, the Heritage Foundation issued a report titled "The 10 Worst Regulations of 2012"that included a proposed rule mandating the installation of electronic data recorders in most light vehicles starting in 2014. The Foundation noted that "During 2012, virtually every aspect of American life, from caloric intake to dishwasher efficiency, was subjected to government meddling," and warned that we should not anticipate that regulators will slow down this year, as there are already dozens of new rules covering health care, finance, global warming and more in the pipeline.
Many talk about decreasing regulation, yet we still see too many heavy-handed mandates churned out by the federal government. The Senate Western Caucus, of which I am member, along with the Congressional Western Caucus released a "Red Tape Rush" report that includes statistics on the number of economically significant rules issued over the past decade. This includes 212 rules in 2011 alone. Communities are under asubstantial amount of regulatory pressure. Reducing this burden must be a top priority in the 113th Congress.
Overregulation and thoughtful regulation are not one in the same. I will continue to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to limit overly-burdensome federal regulation and focus on innovation instead of heavy-handed penalties. This is the direction our nation must move in to better enable America's small businesses to compete, increase jobs and grow our economy.