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Western GOPs Exhort Congress to Take Back Regulatory Power

From the EPA using flawed science to activists forcing policy changes, federal agencies' power "has greatly accelerated to unprecedented levels."

by
Bridget Johnson

Bio

December 6, 2012 - 6:07 pm
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“We have legislation that is ready right now to cut red tape and rein in Washington regulations,” Barrasso said. “Congress should pass these bills immediately and give America’s job-creators the certainty they need to grow and create new jobs in the West and across the country.”

The number of “economically significant” rules issued by the administration peaked in 2010 at 224. In 2011, 212 such rules were issued. Comparatively, in the last year of George W. Bush’s first term, there were 136 such rules issued.

“President Obama’s second term is expected to bring even more excessive regulations that burden small business owners and discourage job creation,” the report says.

The reference to activists taking advantage of the culture of regulatory overreach to successfully wrest policy changes out of the administration could be seen just last week, when 250 species were put under review for the Endangered Species Act because of a court challenge by environmental groups.

“This proposed listing is a prime example of how the ESA is being driven by litigation instead of science. The Lesser Prairie Chicken was one of hundreds of species included in a settlement agreement between the Department of the Interior and litigious environmental organizations,” said Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (R-Wash.). ”Closed-door negotiations with high-paid lawyers whose fees are being subsidized by American taxpayers are not the proper way to make decisions on species listings and set a dangerous precedent that will have widespread impacts on job creation, economic growth and energy security.”

Today’s report warns that things could only get worse in the next four years.

“For decades federal agencies have gained tremendous power at the expense of the American people. Under the Obama Administration, this process has greatly accelerated to unprecedented levels. At the same time liberal activist groups have taken advantage of this expansion of agency power to successfully push forward their agenda,” it states. “Congress, as the elected representatives of the people, simply needs to reassert its constitutional role as the lawmaking authority to bring balance back to our system of government.”

Some pending legislation aimed toward doing that is a bill by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) to mandate that Congress approve any major agency rule that has an annual economic impact of $100 million or more in order for the rule to go into effect.

Fittingly, it’s called the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act. Hearings were held on the bill over the summer and it has 31 co-sponsors — including Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin (W.Va.), whose state has taken a hit from coal regulations — but hasn’t been brought to the floor for a vote.

“Congress must act on legislation to end the red tape that is strangling job creators – particularly in the West,” said Rep. Steve Pearce (R-N.M.), chairman of the Western Caucus in the House. “The Obama administration continues to implement thousands of new overreaching regulations every month, at the cost of America’s small businesses and jobs.”

“These crushing regulatory efforts play into the president’s ‘none-of-the-above’ energy plan, which continues to prevent job creation and places handcuffs on America’s employers,” Pearce added. “With over 12.3 million Americans still out of work, now is not the time to increase the regulatory burdens already crippling our businesses.”

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Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.
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