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Public Statements

Regulatory Reform and Regulatory Relief

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. YOHO. I thank my good friend from Georgia for yielding, and I appreciate the comments.

I'd like to title this talk, ``Burdensome Regulations: The Dysfunctional Government Tax.''

More than $14,000 every year, that's what the average American family loses out on because of Federal regulations either in taxes or lower wages because their employers are carrying that burden.

How do we even get all these regulations, more than 6,000 regulations just this year? It happens when the executive branch goes around Congress to create their own policies. Some people call this ``legislation through regulation.'' I call it the ``dysfunctional government tax.'' It's the $40 a day every American has to pay because the executive branch won't go through Congress. It won't work with those of us who are here tonight because we were sent here by the people.

In more places in my district, you could take your spouse out for a nice dinner for $40. A person could fill up their gas tank and a minivan for about $40, or you could take your children to a matinee movie on the weekends for $40.

When I'm at home in my district, I hear from people who own their own business and from people who just care about their work, about how Federal regulations are making it harder to make ends meet. We're going to talk about a few of these regulations tonight, but let me tell you about a few stories from north central Florida.

There's a lumber company in my district that has to aim lower. By that I mean versus aiming higher to expand their business. This is because of the burden of the Affordable Care Act. It's too great to bear. They would love nothing more than to hire more people, more workers, or buy that extra piece of equipment, but there's no telling what the compliance cost of the ACA will be.

Not only that, these poor folks are subject to the rules and perhaps fines based on the discretion or interpretation of whatever inspector happens upon them that day. There is no certainty. And I think that's one of the biggest roles that we have to do is create certainty in the environment of the workplace so that businesses can go forward and expand their businesses. To create a stable economy, we need a stable environment for businesses to work in. The overregulation we've seen in recent years creates neither.

Yet another example comes from a watermelon grower in my district and an interpretation of a rule from the Food Safety Modernization Act, commonly called FSMA. This rule says that the use of water bottles cannot be used by workers in the field when they are picking the melons. I don't know if words can describe just how hot and humid it gets in Florida during this time of year, but it gets pretty darn hot. Not allowing water in the fields is tantamount to cruel and unusual punishment.

Even more ridiculous are the posters that have to be placed on site that talk about the risk of heat stroke. What you see here is a poster that's put up by one of the regulatory agencies warning people about heat stroke, but yet they won't let you take water into the field to pick watermelons.

These are some of the regulations that don't make any sense, and it causes confusion in the workplace.

Another example that comes from Florida has to do with the poultry recycling program. This act was amended in 1997 to include new definitions; poultry products that have been below 26 degrees Fahrenheit may not be labeled as ``fresh.'' Such labeled product is considered ``misbranded.'' A company I know had a USDA inspection and identified poultry labeled as ``fresh,'' and they said the product was frozen below 26 degrees Fahrenheit. Due to the rule, the product was detained. Keep in mind that, as a veterinarian, this poses no safety risk to the average consumer, to any consumer. After 4 months of engaging the agency with time and money spent on litigation, the USDA changed the rule to allow poultry frozen below 26 Fahrenheit to be labeled as fresh as long as they sold the product to end users like hospitals and restaurants. Precisely. This is the business that this company was selling their product to all along.

The bottom line is that it wound up costing them 4 months of lost revenue, and the rule cost this business $681,000. And they had absolutely no way to recoup their losses.

These things have to change because they wind up stifling the entrepreneur. What we have is a regulatory agency that starts out to make the public safer, whether on the job or on the highways or the foods we eat. And it's a good thing. But what happens is they often overstep their authority, and often it is the interpretation of that rule by the inspector that gets the misinterpretation. And the end result is the owner gets fined and sometimes has to shut down until the situation gets resolved.

Yes, we want safer workplaces, safer highways, and cleaner air and water; but we shouldn't impede the very people trying to create jobs. Our government agencies should be a facilitator to our businesses, not a debilitator to these businesses. After all, with the lack of the extra regulations up to this point in our history, I think it has worked pretty good, and we shouldn't overstep that boundary, and we need to have commonsense regulations.

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