Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush said Congress should freeze the Environmental Protection Agency’s rulemaking and delegate its authority to the states.
“I know for a fact water policy and air policy was better served by having the Department of Environmental Protection in Tallahassee work with our local partners to create a Florida solution,” Bush said on a conference call with National Federation of Independent Business members.
“Out west the same thing applies, so a) I think we need to freeze all rulemaking, b) we need to repeal the most egregious rules and we need to stop the rules that are a work in progress, where you can stop them because they haven’t been finalized,” he added.
The former Florida governor named the EPA’s ozone rule and the clean power plan as well as the Waters of the U.S. rule, which he said “has a broad overreach of water policy of the federal government to be involved in things” that were never intended.
He also mentioned the FCC’s net neutrality rule.
“All of these rules are going to have a devastating impact on innovation and on the burdens, particularly for small business. These costs for large companies, you know, they have big scale. They can hire compliance officers. Smaller businesses don’t have a compliance department and this will be a job-killing enterprise unless we reverse it,” he said.
“I think shifting the delegated authority back to states – and a lot of the funding for many of these programs doesn’t have to be done in Washington. If you block granted Medicaid back to the states, you could get a far better insurance program with less fraud at a lower cost and save the federal taxpayers a lot of money.”
Bush also told the members it is time to find a national solution to the Internet sales tax issue.
“A solution that recognizes that the Internet is here to stay and that there is an increasing disparity, and so long as its not used to raise revenue for governments that parity would make sense,” Bush said. “I think there’s just a compelling argument to be made. It may not have been as compelling 10 years ago when Internet sales were significantly lower, but now it’s an increasing part of the sales mix and brick and mortar companies, businesses do have significant role in our communities.”
One of the members asked Bush if he supported Syrian refugees coming to the U.S. while ISIS continues to expand.
“We have a duty to act, but the principled way we would act is by creating safe zones in the region and by creating a support for the military forces that would be Syrian-driven and Iraqi-driven with the support of everyone else, with American leadership on top of it,” he said. “This is how you solve this problem. You are not going to solve it by bringing people in. My heart goes out to refugees.”
Bush said the U.S. has a noble tradition of supporting refugees but the screening process should be enhanced.
“Unlike other refugee waves that we’ve seen in our country’s history, people weren’t embedded. Terrorists that want to destroy western civilization weren’t embedded amongst the beleaguered refugees, and now they are and we have to be extraordinarily cautious,” he said.
Bush responded to President Obama’s criticism of his statement regarding Christian refugees from Syria.
“At a minimum, we ought to be bringing in people that have — orphans or people that clearly aren’t going to be terrorists. Or Christians,” Bush had said in South Carolina. “There are no Christian terrorists in the Middle East, they’re persecuted.”
On the conference call, Bush said it is not “discriminatory” to suggest the U.S. should be “duty bound to provide support for Christians who, only because of their faith, are being obliterated in a region where they used to exist and prevail.”