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Mr. CUMMINGS. Madam Chair, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
I rise in strong opposition to this dangerous and extreme piece of legislation. This bill would prevent federal agencies from issuing regulations that protect the health and safety of all Americans. Do not be fooled. This bill will not create jobs, and this bill will not make the government better. This bill is intended to stop the Federal Government from issuing regulations until the unemployment rate reaches 6 percent or less.
The standard is indeed arbitrary, and it absolutely makes no sense. But the bill itself is so poorly drafted that, in fact, the moratorium would be in effect until unemployment actually reaches 94 percent. The bill accidentally refers to the ``employment'' rate instead of the ``unemployment'' rate.
Even if this bill were drafted properly, it would be extremely misguided. For example, the Food and Drug Administration would be prevented from issuing a rule ensuring that infant formula is safe for babies to drink. Why should the safety of baby formula depend on the national unemployment rate? Of course, it should not. But the FDA would be banned from issuing a rule it now is considering to protect babies like 10-day-old Avery Cornett, who died last year after he drank infant formula contaminated with a dangerous bacteria.
I offered an amendment to this bill that would have allowed agencies to protect the health and safety of children, but the House Republicans refused to allow it.
Under this bill, the Department of Health and Human Services would be blocked from issuing routine updates to payment rates for doctors who treat seniors under the Medicare program. This would result in hospitals having to lay off workers--not creating jobs.
I offered an amendment that would have allowed the Department to protect the health and safety of seniors. The House Republicans refused to allow that one, too.
Under this bill, the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs would be blocked from issuing regulations to protect the health and safety of our troops serving overseas and our Nation's veterans. For example, the VA could be blocked from issuing a rule it is now considering to help veterans suffering from traumatic brain injuries. And we have seen so much pain with regard to our veterans.
When we considered this bill during the Oversight Committee's markup, Congressman Yarmuth offered an amendment to allow the VA to protect the health and safety of veterans. This amendment was adopted on a bipartisan vote. Even our chairman, Mr. Issa, supported it in committee, yet mysteriously it was stripped from the bill before it came to the floor. Representative Yarmuth tried to offer that same amendment at the Rules Committee, but the House Republicans refused to allow it.
The House Republicans have refused to allow debate on amendments to protect children, to protect seniors, and to protect our Nation's servicemembers and veterans. They even removed the language that was adopted on a bipartisan basis.
This bill is based on a false premise. The proponents argue that regulations kill jobs. This myth has been widely discredited by economists on both sides of the aisle.
Congress should be taking a balanced approach to reviewing regulations, just as President Obama has done. The President has focused on helping small businesses by identifying regulations that are inefficient and unnecessarily burdensome. The bill takes the opposite approach by freezing all significant regulations regardless of how critical they are to the health and safety of our people.
Former Congressman Sherwood Boehlert, a Republican, wrote an op-ed last week, titled, ``GOP Right Wing Is Serious About Disabling Government.'' Congressman Boehlert cut right to the heart of the bill. Keep in mind, this is one of our Republican colleagues, former colleagues. Here's what he wrote:
If one wants to fully appreciate the stranglehold the right wing has on the Republican congressional agenda and its intended dangers, one need look no further than the bill the House plans to consider next week--talking about this bill--which would shut down the entire regulatory system.
I wish that that description was hyperbole, but sadly it is not. Indeed, it would be difficult to exaggerate the sweeping destructiveness of this House bill.
I agree with Congressman Boehlert; this is an extremely irresponsible bill. I urge all our Members to vote against it, and I reserve the balance of my time.
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