While we're on vacation, we're re-posting content from earlier in the year. This post was originally published on June 23, 2011.
By Celeste Monforton
Rhetoric has been flying this year, especially in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, about the "burdens" of federal regulations. Many of these members seem to despise EPA rules, CSPS rules, healthcare rules, and OSHA rules. Many of their talking points come from groups like the Heritage Foundation with their reports "Red Tape Rising: Obama's Torrent of New Regulations," and "Rolling Back Red Tape: 20 Regulations to Eliminate," and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's multi-media "Regulations: Restoring Balance" campaign. Many House members were embolden early in the congressional term to make health, safety and environmental regulations and agencies the target of oversight when they passed H.Res. 72. The resolution, which was introduced on February 8 and passed three days later, directed 10 key congressional committees
"...to inventory and review existing, pending, and proposed government regulations by agencies within their jurisdiction...for their effect on jobs and economic growth."
By my count, in the 60 days the House has been in session this year, nearly 120 hearings on "regulatory burdens," "regulatory reform," "regulations harming small businesses," "regulatory impediments to job creation," and the like, have been conducted.
One such hearing, entitled "Lifting the Weight of Regulations: Growing Jobs by Reducing Regulatory Burdens" was held last week in the House Small Business Committee. The Committee Chairman, Sam Graves (R-MO), called the hearing to examine two bills (H.R. 527, the Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act of 2011, and H.R. 585, the Small Business Size Standard Flexibility Act of 2011) purported to
"remove loopholes in the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA), the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA) process and strengthen the power of the [Small Business Administration's] Office of the Chief Counsel for Advocacy."
I wholeheartedly agree with parts of the Chairman's opening statement such as
"regulations can have benefits. They can protect our food supply, ensure that drugs work, and keep financial markets transparent,"
and agree that there are costs associated with such rules. Where my views depart from his is the notion that the "intended benefits" of a proposed rule be "balanced against" the new rule's "economic costs."