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Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act of 2013

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


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

Earlier this month, President Obama announced that he would, once again, pivot to the economy. The bottom line of his speech, after 4 1/2 years of the Obama administration: ``We're not there yet.''

The President is right: we're not there yet. Economic growth is the key to job creation and recovery, but America's growth rate is historically anemic. From 2010 through 2012, it averaged barely 2 percent. In the fourth quarter of 2012, growth was just four-tenths of one percent.

In the first two quarters of this year, growth averaged only 1.4 percent according to the most recent estimates. These dismal figures translate into deep economic pain for America's workers and families.

The June 2013 jobs report showed an increase of 240,000 in the number of discouraged workers, those who have simply quit looking for a job out of frustration or despair.

The number of people working part-time, but who really want full-time work, passed 8.2 million. That represents a jump of 322,000 in just 1 month.

Worst of all, the truest measure of unemployment, the rate that includes both discouraged workers and those who cannot find a full-time job, continues to exceed 20 million Americans. That rate rose from 13.8 percent back to 14.3 in June.

America's labor force participation rate has fallen to levels not seen since the Carter administration. Median real household income, meanwhile, is 5 percent lower than in June of 2009, when the recession officially ended.

Median incomes are supposed to rise during economic recoveries, not fall. The Obama administration, however, has managed to buck the historical trend. Worse, median incomes remain 9 percent below the peak they reached in January 2008, before the financial crisis. The President is indeed right: we're not there yet. But what the President missed in his speech is that it is his administration's policies that are responsible for America still remaining so deep in this economic hole. To see how true that is one only has to look at the historical record.

The current recovery is the weakest on record in the post-World War II era. The contrast with the recovery Ronald Reagan achieved is particularly stark. Four-and-a-half years after the recession began in 1981, the Reagan administration, through policies opposite to the Obama administration, had achieved a recovery that created 7.9 million more jobs than when the recession began. Real per capita gross domestic product rose by $3,091. Real median household income rose by 7.7 percent.

Surely, the administration knows this. But instead of fixing the problem by changing its policies, the Obama administration knows only one response: double down, increase taxes, increase spending, and increase regulation.

The number of new major regulations the Obama administration has issued and plans to issue--generally, regulations with more than $100 million in impacts--is without modern precedent. Testimony before the Judiciary Committee this term and during the 112th Congress has plainly shown the connection between skyrocketing levels of regulation and declining levels of jobs and growth.

To make matters worse, it is increasingly the case that, when Congress refuses to enable the administration's flawed policies through legislation, the administration unilaterally issues new regulations to achieve an end run around Congress.

The REINS Act is one of the most powerful measures we can adopt to put an end to regulation that wrongheadedly imposes the administration's flawed policies on the American people. It achieves that result in the simplest and clearest ways--by requiring an up-or-down vote by the people's representatives in Congress before any new major regulation can be imposed on our economy.

Some say the REINS Act will mean an end to new major regulation, even when regulation is needed. But the REINS Act does not prohibit new major regulation. It simply establishes the principle: no major regulation without representation.

By restoring to Members of Congress, who are accountable to the American people, the responsibility for America's costliest regulatory decisions, the REINS Act provides Congress and, ultimately, the people with a much-needed tool to check the one-way cost ratchet turned by the Obama administration and Washington's regulatory bureaucrats.

I want to thank the gentleman from Indiana (Mr. Young) for introducing this legislation, and I urge my colleagues to vote for the REINS Act.

I reserve the balance of my time.


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