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Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act of 2013

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. SCALISE. I thank the gentleman from Virginia for yielding and for bringing this bill forward.

Mr. Chairman, I am a strong supporter of the REINS Act. If you look at why we are bringing this bill forward, it is because of the onslaught of radical regulations that have been coming from this Obama administration for the last 4 1/2 years.

Every time I go back home and talk to small business owners in my district, the biggest impediment that they tell me they have to creating more jobs--the biggest impediment--is the rules and regulations coming down from the Federal Government. If you look at what the REINS Act does, it doesn't stop those rules and regulations. It just says, if these rules and regulations are so important and have a $100 million impact on our economy, shouldn't they come before Congress and have to state their cases? I mean, what are you so afraid of in coming before the public body and having transparency?

President Obama said he was going to be the most transparent President ever. Yet he has got these bureaucrats who want to go behind closed doors and come up with rules and regulations. We have had hearings on some of this stuff, by the way, and they talk about things that are going to save kids' lives and things that are going to improve the quality of our air. We have had hearing after hearing in which the rules that they come up with have absolutely nothing to do with improving the quality of people's health.

What it has to do with is ramming through a radical agenda that they can't pass through Congress, and if Congress can't pass it--the publicly elected body of the United States Government--then you shouldn't go through the back door and have some unelected bureaucrat try to ram that through on this country and cause a devastating impact on jobs.

There have been over 130 different major rules under the Obama administration having a $70 billion impact on families in this country. With that $70 billion of impact that's going to cost families more money for food, for energy--for everything they do--shouldn't they have to come before the public bodies here in Congress and state the case? If it's such a good rule, what are they afraid of? Why don't they want that transparency?

It's because they don't want the transparency. They want to ram through the radical agenda, and the REINS Act just puts a stop to the unelected bureaucrats from doing it.


Mr. SCALISE. Mr. Chairman, I bring this amendment forward on the REINS Act to simply prohibit the Obama administration from imposing a carbon tax on the United States. If they wanted to impose that kind of tax, they could not do it through regulation. Of course, we've heard the Obama administration, from President Obama to his EPA Administrator and others, talking about various forms of taxes on energy that they want to impose. Whether it's a carbon tax, whether it's a cap-and-trade-type scheme, they've continued to throw out that opportunity to impose that kind of radical regulation by themselves without action from Congress.

Clearly, as we talk about the REINS Act and we talk about any kind of regulation having over a $100 million impact on our economy, we want to make it very clear that any attempt to impose a carbon tax would fall under that same definition of ``major rule'' where they could not do it by regulation.

If you look at what's been studied on this issue--again, this idea of a carbon tax has been floating around for a while by the Obama administration. In fact, the National Association of Manufacturers, Mr. Chairman, did a study, and it's titled ``The Economic Outcomes of a U.S. Carbon Tax.'' Let me tell you, it's not pretty some of the things that they talk about in this study.

If the Obama administration had their way and imposed a tax on carbon, manufacturing output in energy-intensive sectors, for example, could drop by as much as 15 percent. We're talking real job losses that would come to this country.

What would it do to families in terms of energy costs? How would it affect them? In the same study, they say, just in the first year of a carbon tax, we would see an increase in the cost of natural gas by more than 40 percent, and the price of gasoline at the pump would go up by 20 cents a gallon. That's just in the first year of a carbon tax. It would have devastating impacts on our economy.

Clearly, if you look at what President Obama and his administration officials are doing and saying, they want to keep the door open to impose a carbon tax through regulation. This amendment says absolutely not.


Mr. SCALISE. Mr. Chairman, if I could go back to that National Association of Manufacturers study on the impact of a carbon tax, the gentleman from Tennessee might be interested in knowing that in Tennessee alone, in the first year of a carbon tax, household utilities would go up by 14 percent, and, in fact, they could experience job losses of up to 40,000 lost jobs just in the State of Tennessee in year one, with a 40 percent increase in their natural gas prices.


Mr. SCALISE. Mr. Chairman, in closing, I yield myself the balance of my time.

I just want to point out that clearly the Obama administration must be very interested in imposing a tax on carbon through regulation. The fact that the opposition has objected to this and stated all of the reasons that they think a carbon tax should be imposed tells you that they are holding out for that opportunity.

Of course, if you look at the devastating impacts of a carbon tax--there are a lot of good studies out there. Again, I go back to the National Association of Manufacturers. It's a very respected national organization, people that stand up for American jobs. The report they did, entitled, ``Economic Outcomes of a U.S. Carbon Tax,'' is devastating.

Clearly, the administration wants to do this. If it's such a good idea, bring the idea to Congress; bring it through the House; bring it through the Senate. They could get their floor leaders in the Senate to bring it up tomorrow, but they don't want this kind of scrutiny.

Just the other day, the President was in Tennessee bragging about all these new jobs plans that he has; and while he was doing it, ironically, in another State, his new EPA Administrator was talking about climate change. In fact, she called climate change the ``opportunity of a lifetime,'' and that the EPA would continue to impose regulations despite what we think here in Congress.

That's not the way the legislative process works. That's not the system of government our great Founders created. They said, if an idea is so good, bring it to the people's House; bring it to the Senate, and pass it that way. Don't try to impose it through radical regulation and devastate our economy.

I urge adoption, and I yield back the balance of my time.


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