Mr. WEST. Mr. Speaker, free markets, free enterprise, innovation, and entrepreneurship are the foundation for economic growth and job creation in America.
For the past 4 years, Democrats in Washington have enacted policies that undermine these basic concepts which have historically placed America at the forefront of the global marketplace. As a result, most Americans know someone who has recently lost a job, and small businesses and entrepreneurs lack the confidence needed to invest in our economy. Not since the Great Depression has our Nation's unemployment rate been this high for this long.
Enough is enough. More taxation, regulation, and litigation will not create more jobs. Government takeovers of the economy have failed while the size and scope of the Federal Government has exploded. Washington has tied the hands of small business owners and job creators with onerous regulations and backward fiscal policies that have stalled the economy, slowed innovation, and destroyed jobs.
We need commonsense growth policies to give small businesses and entrepreneurs renewed confidence in our economy and to remove Washington as the roadblock to job creation.
America is at a crossroads, and House Republicans are committed to taking every possible step to spur private sector job creation and get our economy back on track so that Americans can do what they do best: create, innovate, and lead.
Tonight, my colleague and I will convey the frustrations of small business owners and those who have received the bad end of the stick of horrible policies created by the Obama administration.
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Mr. WEST. Mr. Speaker, we must empower small business owners and reduce regulatory burdens. Job creators are being bogged down by burdensome regulation from Washington that prevents job creation and hinders economic growth. These regulations are particularly damaging for the real job creators in the country, our small business owners. We must remove onerous Federal regulations that are redundant, harmful to small businesses, and impede private-sector investment in job creation.
The Small Business Administration has reported that government regulations are estimated to cost our economy over $1.75 trillion a year. To make matters worse, in 2009, the administration considered adding another 184 regulations that are estimated to cost the economy in excess of $100 million each and are likely to cause more Americans to lose jobs.
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Mr. WEST. I thank my colleague from Colorado.
Mr. Speaker, we know that not all regulations are bad, but so many of them are obstacles to job creation. A recent study by the Heritage Foundation found that an unprecedented 43 major regulations were imposed in fiscal year 2010 with a total economic cost of $26.5 billion, the highest total since at least 1981.
The cost of regulations is a big obstacle for American job creators. But when you think about regulations, here are examples of some of the ones that can make you laugh.
The Department of Energy requires microwave makers to measure the amount of energy their products use in the "off'' position.
The Environmental Protection Agency wants stricter regulations on the amount of dust on American farms.
The Department of the Interior wants to impose a fee on Christmas tree sales to promote Christmas tree sales.
When you think about how government regulations destroy American jobs, these are the statistics that will make you cry. According to a Louisiana State University professor, the Department of the Interior's de facto moratorium of exploration in the Gulf of Mexico could cost 36,137 jobs. In addition, more than 80,000 jobs could be lost due to the EPA regulations targeting the cement industry; and, finally, EPA greenhouse gas regulations could cost $1.4 million jobs.
The American people placed an upper limit on the damage that Washington Democrats could inflict on the economy by firing House Democrats in the last election.
In January, we began to implement the Pledge to America, which is focused on providing an environment for economic growth and job creation. We voted to repeal the government takeover of health care, roll back costly Obama administration regulations, cut job-destroying spending and change the culture of Washington, D.C., from one which talks about how much more they can spend, to one which now talks about how much we can cut in spending.
The United States Congress in 2009 passed the President's almost $800 billion stimulus package, which we now have convincing proof it did nothing to reduce unemployment. Today the House of Representatives has sent nine real-life job creating bills to the U.S. Senate, yet those bills continue to sit, waiting to be voted on, similar to the Cut, Cap, and Balance that we sent over that the Senate majority leader tabled.
I have introduced my own piece of legislation to do my part to try to reduce unemployment, The Small Business Encouragement Act, H.R. 1663.
The President continues with an economic policy based on job-killing overregulation, the specter of increased taxes and the implementation of ObamaCare. How many more months are we going to see this stagnant job growth? We are now at 29 months of unemployment in the United States of America being at or above 9 percent.
The President has to realize his policies have failed. They have failed the American people, and it is time to go in a different direction. The solution lies in economic taxation and regulatory policies which incentivize long-term private sector growth. We must restore confidence, provide access to capital which will create economic certainty. Now is not the time for more rhetoric on spending, borrowing, and raising taxes. Our country is in a crisis, and time is running out.
We must remember that it is those same mom and pop stores on Main Street back in our respective districts that create the jobs for our teenagers during these summer months. It is the local hair salon back home that my wife and my two daughters visit often that would be affected by the uncertainty that persists throughout this Nation.
Economic uncertainty created by our massive Federal debt, burdensome regulatory environment on small businesses, and uncertain tax policy for 2012 is slowing commerce; and we must turn the corner. Today's somber GDP announcement in the last quarter of 1.3 percent growth and the previous quarter, 0.5 percent growth, is further proof that President Obama's administration's economic strategy is not working.
Unemployment still remains above 9 percent, at 9.2 percent nationally; in the inner city and our black communities is at 16.2 percent; and, unfortunately, for our veterans, of which I am one, that unemployment rate is 13 percent.
We just talked about our quarterly GDP growth. That is unacceptable for the most powerful economy in the world. Providing certainty for America's small businesses should be the number one priority for Washington, considering they are the backbone of our Nation's workforce and the engine of our economy.
In May, House Republicans put forth a plan for America's job creators. That includes commonsense policies to remove uncertainty by reducing regulatory burdens, lowering business tax rates to 25 percent, spurring exports by quickly passing the pending free trade agreements, and introducing a budget that gets our Nation's fiscal house in order. The sooner we enact policies like these into law, the sooner our small businesses will be able to lead us out of this economic downturn.
Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.