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Red Tape Reduction and Small Business Job Creation Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Could I begin by asking the distinguished chairman of the House Judiciary Committee this following inquiry: Is it not true that the United States of America has less regulation than almost any other industrialized country in the Western Hemisphere?

I am pleased to yield to the gentleman from Texas to respond.


Mr. CONYERS. Well, the gentleman is welcome. His answer is no, he doesn't know. And I'm going to, in the course of this debate, try to share with him the fact that other industrialized nations have far more regulations than us, just to put things into some kind of relative proportion.

Members of the House of Representatives, Joseph Stiglitz has talked about the subject of regulation. Here is something that he had to say about it that I think will set us in the right frame of mind to examine dispassionately the principle that is under examination this afternoon. He said this:

The subject of regulation has been one of the most contentious, with critics arguing that regulations interfere with the efficiency of the market, and advocates arguing that well-designed regulation not only makes markets more efficient, but also helps to ensure the market outcome is more equitable. Interestingly, as the economy plunges into a slowdown, if not a recession, with more than 2 million Americans expected to lose their homes, there is a growing consensus there was a need for more government regulation. If it is the case that better regulations could have prevented or even mitigated the downturn, the country and the world will be paying a heavy price for the failure to regulate adequately, and the social costs are no less grave, as hundreds of thousands of Americans will not only have lost their homes, but their lifetime savings as well.

And so the measure before us, H.R. 4078, by stopping or delaying rules from going into effect, seriously jeopardizes the safety and the soundness of our Nation's economy and our society generally.

Another fundamental problem with this proposal is that it myopically focuses on the cost of regulations while largely ignoring their overwhelming benefits. So this measure, with its misleadingly short title, will not result in creating jobs for one simple reason: there is no credible evidence establishing that regulations have any substantive impact on job creation.

With that, Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.


Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

I direct an inquiry to the distinguished gentleman from North Carolina (Mr. Coble) to ask him if he is aware of the fact that the Obama administration has accomplished and accumulated net benefits of regulations in the last 3 fiscal years that exceed $91 billion?

This comes from the Office of Management and Budget, and it's more than 25 times the net benefits of regulations issued by the Bush administration for a comparable period of time.

I would yield to the distinguished gentleman for a response.


Mr. CONYERS. But do you accept the Office of Management and Budget's findings that the benefits of regulations by the current administration in the last 3 fiscal years exceeded $91 billion?


Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself as much time as I may consume to ask the distinguished member of the Judiciary Committee, Mr. Tim Griffin of Arkansas, if he is aware that the President, as he's correctly stated, supports regulation as a general principle but that he opposes very strongly H.R. 4078, the Regulatory Freeze for Jobs Act of 2012?

I would yield to the gentleman for a response.


Mr. CONYERS. Well, if I could interrupt the gentleman, this is not about what your opinion is or mine. I'm asking you about the President's opinion.

The President, as you quite accurately said, is supportive of regulation, but he is specifically opposed to this regulation, and I would like to quote to you exactly what he said about H.R. 4078:

The bill would undermine critical public health and safety protections, introduce needless complexity and uncertainty in agency decisionmaking, and interfere with agency performance of statutory mandates.

Now, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from North Carolina (Mr. Miller), an outstanding member of the Financial Services Committee.


Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

I'd just like the distinguished gentleman from Florida (Mr. Ross) to know that later on I'm going to introduce over 60 outstanding leaders, economists, and organizational heads that take a completely different view from the distinguished gentleman from Florida, and I'd like him to examine those documents.

I am pleased to yield such time as he may consume to the former chairman of the Education and Labor Committee from California, George Miller.


Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

I would like to just remark on the words of the distinguished speaker on the Republican side by saying that another Republican has a completely different point of view, who was the former chairman of the House Committee on Science, and was so for over 5 years. He is Sherwood Boehlert, and many of us remember him fondly.

He says that it would be ``difficult to exaggerate the sweep and destructiveness of the House bill.'' He is referring to H.R. 4078.

The legislation might as well just directly order the agencies that were created to protect the public to close up shop.

Then he goes on to say:

There is no indication that this bill would aid job growth. Indeed, by blocking rules needed to make the economy run more smoothly, the bill could harm our economic prospects for years to come.

So I present to you a point of view of the Republican leader of the House of Representatives, a distinguished Republican and former chairman of the Committee on Science in 2001 and 2006.

I now yield such time as she may desire to the gentlelady from California (Ms. Eshoo).


Mr. CONYERS. I thank the author of this amendment because it highlights the dangers of this bill. And surely if there is anything that we prioritize in our whole ecosystem is the value and importance of clean water over profits, and I am astounded that anyone would oppose the amendment, frankly.


Mr. CONYERS. I may not need that much time.

But this is the most important provision in this bill--if we can persuade our colleagues to accept it--because we've all been victims of this rising gas price and then they miraculously come down a little bit, and then they start going back up again and then they come down.

I congratulate the gentleman from Ohio (Mr. Kucinich) for introducing the amendment, and I'm proud, along with him, to support consumers across this country.

I thank the gentleman.


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