Obama opposes bill to halt regulatory changes

The Barack Obama administration is opposed to a House bill that would clamp down on further regulatory changes until the economy gets better.

The Regulatory Freeze for Jobs Act (H.R. 4078) would stop all new significant federal regulations until the national unemployment rate falls to 6 percent or below. The unemployment rate has been higher than 8 percent for 41 consecutive months.

House Republican leaders combined seven bills that would either halt regulations or otherwise revamp the regulatory process into a single legislative package. Debate on the legislation began July 24.

House Speaker Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) today cited cited a recent survey that found 78 percent of small business owners say regulations have impeded their attempts to hire new workers. Further, Republicans estimate nearly $600 billion in costs for regulations finalized during the Obama administration and the more than 4,000 regulations in the pipeline, according to the Speaker’s Blog.

On the other side of the debate, Obama administration officials said the bill would undermine the existing framework for putting regulations into place. Agency officials must adhere to the set procedural requirements of federal law, including the Administrative Procedure Act, the Regulatory Flexibility Act, the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act, the Paperwork Reduction Act, and the Congressional Review Act. These require regulatory agencies to determine that the benefits justify the costs, to consider alternatives, and to promote flexibility in the rules.

To the administration, the bill would add layers of procedural burdens that interfere with agency performance of statutory mandates. It would also unnecessarily delay important public health and safety protections as well as environmental reviews. For example, the legislation would create excessively complex permitting processes that would hamper economic growth.

Administration officials also suggested excessive regulatory litigation would come as a result. They warned that they would recommend a presidential veto of the bill.

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Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

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Reader comments

Thu, Jul 26, 2012

Need to establish a good balance on the extent of regulations. Yes, expanding commerce and other economic activities is necessary, and need to ensure that these keep growing. But also need to look at the long term, e.g., keeping a clean, strong environment that is essential for clean air and water, fishing, healthy unpolluted cities, etc. It seems that too many of the anti-regulation folks want quick actions and profits at the expense of safety and a sustainable environment.

Wed, Jul 25, 2012 Vern San Diego

I once heard a quote that goes, "You can determine the maturity level of any society by the number of laws that it has." Hmmmm, what does that say about our society that has all these regulations and the open ability---no, government DESIRE---to create more?

Wed, Jul 25, 2012 Viola

If removing regulations will improve this economy, at this point we (as Americans) can not afford to take that opportunity. Too many of us are out of work. Too many of us watch our children and loved ones suffer from the effects of the economy. Any Senator, Congressman...politician period who stands between the growth of this economy and the American people, remember you can be voted out. America is tired of not working. We're tired of getting the breadcrumbs while others get the fruits of what keeps this country going. Many will find themselves off the Hill this election. Those that stay will be those that start truly cutting the talk and doing what it takes to bring this country back to an honorable status and with jobs.

Wed, Jul 25, 2012

Regulations should be made only to help commerce. Unfortumately, this admistration and liberals in general think differently. A vast majority of government officials and members of this admistration have spent little, if any, time in the private sector and , as a result, have no clue on what sort of damage they are doing not only to business, but to this country, with their excessive regulations.

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