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Public Statements

GOP Freshmen Hour

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. GARDNER. Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and thank you for the opportunity to address the House tonight. I appreciate the time and consideration that we will have, the opportunity to visit with the American people about some of the biggest issues we are facing as a Nation.

I thought I would start with highlighting an article that appeared July 18 in Politico. The headline of this bill is: ``President Obama's job's panel, missing in action.''

The first paragraph of this Politico article says:

President Barack Obama's Jobs Council hasn't met publicly for 6 months, even as the issue of job creation dominates the 2012 election.

So we know that the economy is suffering. We know that unemployment continues to burden this country. But the fact is even the President and his Jobs Council isn't taking the issue seriously enough to make sure they're meeting regularly to talk about what's important for the American people.

Tonight as we talk about those issues that are important to the American people, I want to talk about the issue of regulations and how the issue of regulations, whether it's a large business or small business, are affecting the ability of businesses to hire around this country to get people back to work because we are indeed becoming a regulation nation.

The effort continues this week for House Republicans to ensure that government doesn't stand in the way of America's job creators. Washington doesn't need more regulations, we need smarter regulations.

Tomorrow, we will be considering H.R. 4078, the Red Tape Reduction and Small Business Job Creation Act, which is a package of proposals aimed at providing regulatory relief from the red tape that continues to burden our small businesses. This package imposes a moratorium on any new regulation until unemployment drops below 6 percent nationally. It's been over 3 years since our unemployment has actually dropped below 8 percent. This is the 41st month in a row where unemployment in this country has been at or exceeded 8 percent. This bill aims to curtail the practice of midnight regulations, regulations that are promulgated from the day after the November election through January 20, the day of the presidential inauguration, and highlights the increasing concern of ``sue and settle'' agreements.

As a Member of Congress, I try to vote the right way and push forward the right Federal policies and practices so that businesses can operate more effectively without the hand of government guiding it. I wanted to break down some of the barriers throughout the night that are truly affecting job creators and their ability to hire to make this country work. I thought I would just talk a little about current events across the Nation. Some of these are State regulations, and some of these are local regulations. There is a Forbes article printed last year on August 3, 2011, ``The Inexplicable War on Lemonade Stands'' about regulations that required a child's lemonade stand to cost $400 in permitting alone, bake sale busts across the country because regulations don't allow for children to have bake sales, and Big Gulp attacks in New York as the mayor attempts to regulate the size of pop that people can buy.

Some of these are Federal regulations, and some of these are State regulations. But the fact of the matter is this Nation faces a greater and greater challenge in becoming a regulation nation that hurts job creators and our ability to pull ourselves out of this economic slump.

Tonight I'll be joined by Members of Congress from across the United States, from Indiana to Alabama to Arizona and beyond, to focus on those issues that are important to our Nation's small businesses and job creators.

With that, I would like to yield as much time as she may consume to the gentlelady from Alabama who has been working tirelessly to make sure that her constituents have the opportunity they need to get back on their feet again when it comes to our economy.


Mr. GARDNER. I thank the gentlelady from Alabama, and The Economist article, I've got a copy of it here as well, this is not exactly the bastion of conservatism that Republicans hold up all the time to highlight their beliefs. This is the Economist dated February 18, 2012, headline as you stated, ``Over-regulated America.'' And just to share one little factoid from this report that The Economist put out here, it says a study from the Small Business Administration, a government body, found that regulations in general add $10,585 in costs per employee per year--$10,585 per year per employee is the cost of regulations. If you're a business that's just getting started, or if you're struggling to balance the books and make sure you are able to continue into next year, here's the cost, $10,585 per employee.


Mr. GARDNER. You're exactly right, the punitive approach to regulation that's not actually trying to make a business improve, it's not trying or concerned with safety, but it's more concerned with the number of tickets or violations that they write, the number of fines that they can collect.

I know the gentleman from Indiana (Mr. Young) has a lot of insight on this. You talk about a State that has seen some incredible challenges over the years as it comes to the economy, but certainly rebounding now under great leadership of Mr. Young himself as well as a great Governor, Mitch Daniels. I certainly look forward to the comments you have tonight.


Mr. GARDNER. I thank the gentlelady from Alabama for making the point, especially on the issue of farm dust.

I can remember a committee hearing we had a month ago where the assistant administrator of the EPA was asked directly whether or not the EPA regulates farm dust, and she denied that the EPA is going to regulate farm dust. But when she was asked whether or not the EPA regulates dust from farms, the answer was yes. Now, only in Washington, D.C., Mr. Speaker, can farm dust and dust from farms be two different things.

But somebody who has also been standing the line to make sure that they are fighting for America's job creators, somebody who's been doing the hard work it takes to get this economy back on track, and somebody who has experience himself as a job creator, running a small business, putting people to work, is our colleague from Colorado, Scott Tipton, who has worked tirelessly to make sure that this country's policies reflect a nation of job creators instead of a nation of bureaucrats.

With that, I would like to thank the gentleman from Colorado (Mr. Tipton) for joining us tonight.


Mr. GARDNER. And I would point out, too, as the gentleman has mentioned, the cost of regulations and the time that regulations take, this is a--again, going back to that same economist article talking about the issue of overregulated in America. And it talks about how every hour spent, every hour spent by a doctor in this country today, under the President's health care bill, when a doctor meets with a patient for an hour, that doctor, that health care clinic, that hospital, is going to spend at least 30 minutes filling out paperwork and forms. So the doctor meets for an hour with the patient; they're going to be spending at least 30 minutes of paperwork, and often a whole hour.

You talk about regulations. That's what the President's health care has brought us.

And I know the gentleman from Arizona (Mr. Quayle) has been a champion for job creators in his State. The next speaker tonight is Ben Quayle from Arizona, who's going to talk, amongst other things, about a bill that he has introduced, H.R. 3862, to get to the very heart of some of the challenges that we face when it comes to protecting America's job creators and making sure that we're not strangling our job creators through regulations. I look forward to his comments tonight.


Mr. GARDNER. I thank the gentleman from Arizona.

You mentioned at the beginning of your comments tonight the President's statement that, if you have a business, you can thank government for that.

Have you ever had a small business owner or somebody who opened a business call you and thank the government for building his business? I don't know. I certainly have never had that.


Mr. GARDNER. And $1.75 trillion is the yearly cost of regulations. If you were to hire 35 million people at $50,000 a year, that would equal $1.75 trillion. $1.75 trillion could hire 35 million people at $50,000 a year.


Mr. GARDNER. Again, thank you for sharing that story with us about a manufacturer of a restaurant--a food business, I guess, operator--that is ready to create jobs if it could just get government out of the way and let it do what it does best, which is run its own business.

I am pleased tonight that we are joined by the gentlelady from North Carolina, Virginia Foxx, who is a champion on the House floor in making sure we are doing just that--getting government out of the way and letting America work.


Mr. GARDNER. I thank the gentlelady.

In going back to some of the comments that have been made tonight, the gentleman from Indiana talked about the 34,000 new rule makers--the people who have been hired to do nothing but write rules. I live in a town of about 3,000 people, so 34,000 people is a heck of a lot more than I have in my hometown, and they were all hired to write regulations. The gentleman from Arizona talked about 82,000 pages.

To the gentleman, I think that was 82,000 pages of regulations in 2012 alone?


Mr. GARDNER. 2011. So that's 82,000 pages of regulations written in 2011.

During the first 3 years in office, the Obama administration unleashed 106 new major regulations that increased the regulatory burdens in this country by more than $46 billion annually. I want to share with you a statement that the President, himself, made. This is a statement that he made recently, saying:

The rules have gotten out of balance, placing unreasonable burdens on business, burdens that have stifled innovation and have had a chilling effect on growth and jobs.

Yet here we are increasing regulations by this President, by this administration.


Mr. GARDNER. We continue to hear testimony before our committees that talk about how for every $1 million you spend on regulations, it creates 1.5 jobs, as if regulations and adding burdens to business is actually job creation in and of itself.


Mr. GARDNER. I often tell my constituents a story about my great-granddad when he came to Colorado and opened up the farm equipment dealership that still remains in our family today. I tell the story about how they came to our hometown, a small town, and they built their business. I talk about how my wife and I wonder if our children are going to be able to have the same opportunities that he did to start a business of their dreams. I don't think they ever imagined that the government would be considering prohibiting a 16-year-old from working on their uncle's farm. I don't think they ever imagined that the government might try to require dairies to build berms around the cows in case there was a milk spill. I don't think they ever would have imagined a world where the government would introduce, as a result of litigation, a proposal that could wipe out 25 percent of our electricity generation just because they decided this regulation has to go into effect because of a lawsuit that they agreed to settle, and the cost that that will force upon America's job creators.

Again, we get back to this notion of the millions of people in this country that are unemployed. We get back to the very simple fact that one out of every two college graduates today is either unemployed or underemployed. Our Nation has seen unemployment rates at or above 8 percent for 41 months in a row. All while the promise of the President's stimulus bill said we're going to solve these problems, unemployment is going to be drastically reduced, we're going to create energy opportunities by giving millions and millions of dollars in loan guarantees to companies that go bankrupt. Yet, we have job creators in Indiana ready to hire, but they can't get the money that they need because of regulations. We have a government that would rather give loan guarantees to companies they know are going to fail than to actual job creators that are already succeeding.


Mr. GARDNER. And I would like to ask the gentleman from Colorado tonight--you know, the gentleman from Indiana mentioned the Regulatory Freeze for Jobs Act. This is the idea that we put a freeze on regulations when the economy's down, but it is specifically about the REINS Act.

You know, the REINS Act that we talked about earlier this year was a bill that we passed that said, if a rule or regulation has a certain economic impact on our economy, then it has to come back to us to say whether or not this is something that we need to pass on to America's job creators.

When we served together in the State legislature, every year we worked on the rule review bill. And the gentleman from Colorado will recall that this was a bill that came up to us, and we got to look at the regulations and give them a thumbs up or thumbs down on whether or not we thought the executive agency had gone too far, whether we thought they were doing the right thing.

And again, this is just one way for us to say, hey, let's do what's right for America's job creators.


Mr. GARDNER. And I think the gentleman from Arizona brings up a good point because the President likes to blame Congress for not increasing taxes or for spending enough money. But we know that this President is in charge of his executive branch agencies, that he's the one who appointed his cabinet, approved by the Senate. He could just pick up the phone, as you said, call, and say, Let's make sure we're making it easier for businesses, not more difficult. And again, it's an incredible, incredible opportunity that the President has to stand up and lead. But it goes back to that very issue: he's required to stand up and lead.


Mr. GARDNER. I want to thank my colleagues from Indiana, Alabama, Colorado, Arizona, and North Carolina who stood on the House floor tonight talking about what we could do to get this country moving again, what we could do to unleash the innovators and the entrepreneurs across this country.

We face a lot of challenges. We know that we face insurmountable debt that we must address. We know this country faces spending challenges each and every day. But we can't build a long, sustainable economy unless we get America's job creators back on their feet.

The Small Business Administration recently released a study that said, per employee, small businesses face regulatory costs 36 percent higher than large businesses. It's now easier to start a business in Slovenia, Estonia, and Hungary than in America.

The message that we join together tonight to send to our job creators is that we stand with you. We stand with businesses across this country who are struggling to hire that next person, to make sure that they have the opportunities that the people who started their businesses did, to make sure that the generations that follow have the same opportunities as the generations before them.

So I want to thank my colleagues again for joining us tonight and to make sure that the American people know that we, indeed, have a jobs plan. And tomorrow, when we pick up, again, a debate to talk about America's job creators, that we will talk about how we can get this economy moving forward again. And we will be voting on H.R. 4078, the Red Tape Reduction and Small Business Job Creation Act, that every vote we take on it will be made with one purpose: to get this country moving again and to get our economy back on track and to get America's job creators hiring once again.

I yield back the balance of my time.

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