Thursday, January 27, 2011

GUEST COLUMN: "Rein in the Regulators" by Rep. Bob Gibbs

Rep. Bob Gibbs
By Congressman Bob Gibbs (OH-18)

I came to Washington to cut spending, shut down the federal “red tape” factory, and help small businesses get back to creating new jobs. However thousands of new complicated, costly regulations covering every sector of the American economy are written every year by bureaucrats in more than 60 federal agencies. This rulemaking process adds billions of dollars to the real price tag of legislation, leading to higher costs for businesses and consumers, weakened American competitiveness and jobs being sent abroad.

Over the past 25 years under both GOP and Democratic Administrations, there has been an average of 30-40 major rules adopted each year. However, in the past two years, President Obama’s administration wrote 121 major rules with another 191 in the works. In 2010 alone, federal bureaucrats added 80,000 pages of brand new rules.

These rulemakings create uncertainty in the market as the details of the regulations take extensive periods of time to finalize. At a time when job creation is paramount to economic recovery, businesses are being forced to postpone decisions on hiring and expansion.

Job-creating small businesses continue to bear a disproportionate share of the more than $1.75 trillion federal regulatory burden. The U.S. Small Business Administration estimates costs of more than $10,000 per employee for firms with fewer than 20 employees. More often than not, these costs come from complying with "red tape" requirements that aren’t even in the laws Congress passed. Instead, bureaucracies have more power as they implement ambiguous legislation, further expanding the “red tape” factory and turning these agencies into “quasi-legislative” bodies with little or no accountability and transparency.

To combat this problem, I have become a cosponsor of legislation introduced by Rep. Geoff Davis [R-KY] known as the REINS Act. The “Regulations from the Executive In Need of Scrutiny Act” will restore accountability in the rulemaking process by giving Congress oversight of any rule adopted by a federal government bureaucracy that has at least $100 Million in cumulative economic impact. With the REINS ACT, these “major rules” will require an up-or-down vote by both the House and Senate as well as a signature by the President.

I am proud to support this legislation as it aligns with my votes to cut Congress’ budget and repeal the job-destroying health care law, both efforts to cut federal spending and rein in overreaching government agencies that are stifling job creation and hindering economic growth.