Wednesday, September 07, 2011

GUEST COLUMN: "Washington Doesn’t Like Me Much" by Rep. Bob Gibbs

Rep. Bob Gibbs
I ran for Congress because I was fed up with the way Washington politicians were treating our workers, employers, and families.  With eight months under my belt representing the people of Eastern Ohio, I can tell you that my opinion of the bureaucracy and red tape in Washington hasn’t changed much.  In fact, I don’t think Washington, D.C. likes me much either.   
Washington bureaucrats don’t like me because I am outspoken in working to end the ‘red tape factory’ that has taken over government.  ‘Bureaucrat’ is a word that is used a lot in campaign speeches, but is rarely defined.  I define a bureaucrat as a federal employee who was not elected by any voting population, and therefore unaccountable to the public, yet still holds a tremendous amount of authority over policies that directly impact Americans. 
Case in point: the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  Over its history, the EPA has certainly helped make our country a better place to live, work and play.  As a farmer and outdoorsman, I enjoy nature, clean water and clean air; things the EPA was originally designed to protect.  This behemoth organization has broad reach into the everyday lives of most Americans, whether they realize it or not.  

However, the EPA is not the sole reason our environment has improved.  The American entrepreneurial spirit encourages advances in technology and innovation that have and continue to result in a cleaner, healthier environment. 
Under the Obama Administration, the EPA has moved away from its intended purpose to “create and maintain conditions under which man and nature can exist in productive harmony” and is now implementing the personal agendas of radical environmentalists.  Even after the congressional defeat of cap-and-trade, the EPA has begun implementing the job-destroying scheme through executive regulations.  They even estimate one of the new rules alone to cost businesses $132 million the first year and add EPA oversight to 10,000 new facilities.
Ohio is coal country.  Period.  We mine coal, we burn coal, and we have tens of thousands of jobs from coal.  Every time a constituent of OH-18 turns on their lights, they are paying less for that energy because of coal.  But unfortunately, the EPA is more worried about shutting down the fossil fuel industry entirely than it is about working with our coal industry and recognizing the incredible advances that have been made to clean up coal and its effect on the environment. 
As Chairman of the Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee, I oversee the EPA’s implementation of the Clean Water Act and see the results of their regulation-rampage first-hand. 
That is why the EPA tops the list of Washington bureaucrats that do not like me very much.  They don’t like me because I’m working everyday to put a stop to their attack on jobs and the American worker.  They don’t like that I consider one of my most important roles in Congress to stop out- of-touch bureaucrats from making decisions that take paychecks away from Ohio’s families.  And they especially don’t like that I continuously pursue a legislative agenda that boosts economic growth through reducing the regulatory and tax burden. 
In an article in the New York Times, I was referred to as the ‘critic-in-chief’ of the Obama Administration and the assault on our businesses in the name of clean water.  I am, in fact, a critic of the Obama administration and its burdensome federal regulations that stifle economic growth, impose high costs on businesses and impede private sector investment and job creation.
If that means Washington doesn’t like me much, it’s ok because the feeling is mutual.