Mike Lee: Roll Back ‘Oppressive’ $2 Trillion ‘Compliance’ Costs

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) told PJM the Republican presidential candidates should speak more about the need to roll back federal regulations that cost the economy $2 trillion annually.

Lee, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Republicans must remind the American people that the $2 trillion in regulatory compliance costs is not only paid for by the rich.

“That’s not paid for just by wealthy Americans or by big blue-chip corporations, that’s paid for by hard-working, poor, middle-class Americans who find that everything they buy, every good, every service is more expensive as a result of these regulations,” he said at the National Press Club Book Fair, where he was promoting his book Our Lost Constitution. “Once that gets understood, then the American people are going to start pushing back and saying, ‘We need relief. We’re being crushed by oppressive regulatory costs.’”

Lee is a co-sponsor of the REINS Act, which was introduced by Republican presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.). The bill would require congressional approval for the implementation of major rules and regulations. Republican presidential candidates Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) also co-sponsored the legislation. The bill has passed the Republican-controlled House but the Republican-controlled Senate has not voted on the bill.

PJM asked Lee how he is going to pick between the three senators in the race for the GOP nomination.

“They are all fantastic, they all three support the REINS Act. In fact, Rand Paul is the lead sponsor of the REINS Act in the Senate. I could support any one of them if they became president,” he said.

Asked when he will make an endorsement, Lee said, “We’ll see.”

As Congress debates whether or not to pause the Syrian refugee program after the ISIS terrorist attacks in Paris, Lee said the U.S. does not need to take in refugees from every country.

“No matter what we need to pause before we admit refugees from Syria, knowing as we now know that at least one of the attackers in the Paris attacks last week was in fact a refugee from Syria – that ought to give us some concern about admitting Syrian refugees here,” said Lee, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

“So I understand this is about compassion; that’s why we have a refugee program. Our first obligation as a Congress is one that involves compassion about those we represent – for the American citizens, for the American people who need to be safe. And we need to make sure we are not making them unsafe by virtue of who we are bringing in.”

The House passed the American Security Against Foreign Enemies (SAFE) Act of 2015 on Thursday in a 289-137 vote. The legislation would not allow any refugees from Iraq or Syria into the U.S. unless the FBI director, the secretary of Homeland Security, and the director of National Intelligence certify “the background investigation of each refugee.”

A Bloomberg Politics national poll revealed that most Americans think the U.S. should not allow 10,000 Syrian refugees to resettle in the country.