Regulatory responsibility missing in current administration

Feb 8, 2013

U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts introduced a bill that continues his fight against regulations issued by the Obama administration that hurt the nation’s struggling economy, including agriculture.

Roberts’ bill, S. 191, the Regulatory Responsibility for our Economy Act, would put the power of law behind the president’s widely touted, but largely ignored, executive order directing federal agencies to review their regulations ensuring they cause no harm to the economy or job creation.

“Two years ago, I applauded the president for recognizing that the volumes of regulations released by his administration were hurting job creation, stifling growth, and generally making life more difficult on hard working Americans. However, since that day, this promising executive order has received little more than lip service from this administration,” Roberts said. “Loopholes have been exploited across the federal government and Americans continue to struggle under the regulator’s boot. So let’s make it law. Let’s really look at the size and scope of our government and return it to its role as a partner in America’s success rather than an impediment to it.”

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce commended the Roberts’ legislation, saying, “This legislation would take important steps toward restraining excessive agency power and promote sound regulatory policy.”

The Regulatory Responsibility for our Economy Act strengthens and codifies the president’s Executive Order from Jan. 18, 2011, ensuring that regulations put forth by Executive Branch consider the economic burden on American businesses, ensure stakeholder input and promote innovation. The administration would be required by law to review, modify, streamline, expand, or repeal any significant regulatory actions that are duplicative, unnecessary, burdensome, or would have significant economic impacts on Americans.

The bill also closes the loopholes that the administration has been using to bypass stakeholder input on regulations, and allows for judicial review if the administration fails to meet this self-imposed standard.

For example, the Department of Health and Human Services issued proposed rules regarding the insurance exchanges in the new health care law. These significant rules were only allotted a 30day comment period during the holidays, announced Nov. 20, 2012.

Roberts is particularly concerned with the overly aggressive regulations of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). EPA is attempting to expand the definition of navigable waterways to include farm ponds, currently requires pesticide applicators to get two permits for the use of pesticides and, finally, has issued strict new emissions standards for coal- and oilfired electric utilities costing billions annually.

The act has received letters of support from the Chamber of Commerce, the National Federation of Independent Business, the National Cattleman’s Beef Association and the American Association of School Administrators.

Sen. Lamar Alexander, R- TN, is an original cosponsor of the bill. “For too long, the federal government has been throwing a big, wet blanket over the economy with unrealistic regulations that burden businesses,” Alexander said. “The best thing we can do to create more jobs for Tennesseans is to get the government out of the economy’s way.”

The bill has 32 original cosponsors including Sens. Portman, Coats, Ayotte, Grassley, Paul, Johanns, R. Johnson, L. Graham, Sessions, Crapo, Wicker, Moran, Chambliss, Isakson, Burr, Toomey, Inhofe, Risch, McCain, McConnell, Hoeven, Cochran, Alexander, Boozman, Fischer, Enzi, Thune, Hatch, Barrasso, Blunt, Rubio and Corker.

Roberts is an outspoken advocate for the elimination of ridiculous and burdensome regulations issued by the agenda driven Obama administration. From the School Lunch Program to healthcare, Roberts has fought this executive overreach and won. Earlier last week, Roberts introduced a bill to end excessive regulation at EPA, S. 175. Roberts is a senior member of the Senate Committee on Finance, the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, and the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. — Traci Eatherton, WLJ Editor