By Congressman Phil Roe
A key portion of House Republicans’ Better Way agenda is to put forward proposals to grow the economy by reducing the total number of regulations and by regulating smarter with those that remain. In 2015, federal regulations were estimated to cost roughly $1.89 trillion in lost growth and productivity. Further, if the United States’ regulatory system were a country, it would have the world’s 9th largest economy. Out-of-control regulating has undoubtedly slowed economic recovery, which is why I am proud that the House and President Trump took major steps this week to ensure overregulation will no longer stand in the way of economic recovery.
First, President Trump signed an executive order to cap the overall number of regulations. This executive order, which I strongly support, would require two regulations be repealed for every new regulation rolled out by the administration. The order also sets a goal through September 30, the end of this fiscal year, to have zero overall regulatory cost. This will provide certainty to small and large employers while giving the new administration time to address some of the Obama administration’s most egregious and burdensome regulations. Finally, the executive order sets a regulatory budget for the Executive Branch. Each federal agency will be given an allowance from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and must stay under that cap each fiscal year. OMB will look closely at each federal agency and give the agencies an allowance that is appropriate based on the scope of their work.
President Trump is not alone in working to reduce the burden of regulations and pave the way for job creation this week; the House also passed two important measures to stop regulations put forward by the Obama administration. On Wednesday, the House used the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to stop the Obama administration’s controversial Stream Protection Rule. CRAs are one of the most important tools Congress has to stop regulations by providing members of Congress with the opportunity to officially disapprove of a federal agency’s regulation. The best part: Congressional disapproval only requires a simple majority in the Senate, instead of a 60-vote super majority, and stops the rule’s implementation unless the president vetoes it.
The Stream Protection Rule was sold by the Obama administration as a necessary regulation to protect surface water from mining operations. While we can all agree that mining should be done safely and with the environment in mind, this overreach would effectively gut coal country. After a House Committee on Natural Resources investigation that lasted more than two years, it became clear this regulation was just another one of President Obama’s tactics in his War on Coal that he waged throughout his entire presidency. According to estimates from the National Mining Association, this rule could cost anywhere from 40,000 to 78,000 mining jobs and could kill up to 281,000 total jobs. The CRA for the Stream Protection Rule passed the House with bipartisan support, and I’m glad Senator McConnell has said stopping this misguided rule is a priority for the Senate.
Next, the House passed another CRA resolution to stop the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) resource extraction rule. This provision was included in the Dodd-Frank Act and requires resource extraction companies that extract oil, natural gas or minerals to disclose payments made in connection with their company activities to foreign governments. This provision was added to the Dodd-Frank Act by the Senate despite the fact the House and Senate Financial Services Committees had never held a hearing on the issue or marked up that provision. The SEC estimates that compliance costs for this rule could be as high as $591 million annually while putting American companies at a disadvantage against their foreign competitors. This is just another example of a burdensome regulation stifling American job creation and innovation, and I was glad to support the resolution to stop this provision.
It’s time the federal government stops regulating ourselves deeper into economic turmoil, and I look forward to working with President Trump to cut red tape and foster private-sector job growth.
Feel free to contact my office if I can be of assistance to you or your family. My contact information can be found on my website, roe.house.gov.