Just to get back to this drive for regulatory reform that you’ll see from the House GOP over the next several months, with spending de-emphasized, take a look at Eric Cantor’s memo on the upcoming agenda from the chamber. About 80% of it concerns repealing “job-destroying regulations,” which suddenly have become the core reason for the lack of jobs. I thought it was all about runaway spending, but I guess that was last week. There are two other small tax-related measures on the agenda, one of which would delay a rule that doesn’t even come into play until 2013 (and which is really an enforcement measure to get contractors to pay their bills), the other which is another small business tax deduction to go with the other 16 that have passed since early 2009. So this is almost entirely a regulatory repeal agenda, as if that’s the major reason for slack in the economy and not demand.
By pursuing a steady repeal of job-destroying regulations, we can help lift the cloud of uncertainty hanging over small and large employers alike, empowering them to hire more workers.
Our regulatory relief agenda will include repeal of specific regulations, as well as fundamental and structural reform of the rule-making system through legislation like the REINS Act, the Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act, and reform of the Administrative Procedures Act (all three bills are expected on the floor in late November and early December).
The following is a list of the 10 most harmful job-destroying regulations that our committee chairmen have identified, as well as a selective calendar for their repeal. These regulations are reflective of the types of costly bureaucratic handcuffs that Washington has imposed upon business people who want to create jobs.
So what to make of this top ten list? One is an administrative ruling by the NLRB on Boeing that is being adjudicated in a court, so “repeal” of that would represent a legislative entry into the exclusive power of both the executive and the judicial branches. This is the way that the agenda of “smaller, less intrusive government” begins. Then you have another NLRB ruling on union elections, a series of seven EPA regulations on pollution standards, and a ruling on “grandfathered health plans,” which is actually about the Administration saying that plans can’t stay grandfathered if major changes that reduce benefits and increase employee costs are made. Of course, none of that will matter until the full Affordable Care Act is implemented in 2014.
So you can boil down the House GOP’s entire agenda to: we don’t like the EPA, we don’t like some of what the NLRB is doing, and we don’t like that the government isn’t allowing employers to make health coverage abjectly worse for their employees.
Cantor also joins the President in cheerleading for patent reform and trade deals, so that area of convergence represents the only thing that is likely to get done for the rest of the year. Unexplained here by Cantor is the annual budget (expiring at the end of September), the federal highway fund (expiring at the end of September), FAA authorization (expiring September 16), the Catfood Commission II (must be acted on by December), or the twin stimulus measures of the payroll tax cut and extended unemployment insurance (expiring at the end of the year). So everything that matters is up in the air, while the House GOP makes themselves busy with their anti-regulatory agenda.