“We're looking at the system as a whole to make sure we avoid excessive, inconsistent and redundant regulation.”
—President Obama, Wall Street Journal op-ed, January 18, 2011
Two hundred eleven days ago President Obama issued Executive Order 13563 to “improve regulation and regulatory review” at executive agencies (e.g. Department of the Interior, Department of Commerce, etc). Thirty seven days ago the president issued Executive Order 13579 to direct independent regulatory agencies (e.g. Federal Communications Commission, National Labor Relations Board, etc) to apply the same review requirements “seeking more affordable, less intrusive means to achieve the same ends—giving careful consideration to benefits and costs.” Yet in spite of the Administration’s alleged scrutiny of overregulation, job creation remains almost nonexistent.
How can this be? The American Action Forum has been closely tracking federal regulatory actions throughout 2011 and recently released this weekly wrap-up:
[R]egulators piled on $2.9 billion in new burdens and added more than 1.3 million annual paperwork hours. EPA’s final interstate “Transport” rule imposed the highest compliance costs.
Administrative agencies proposed 58 rules and implemented 69 final rules. Federal agencies issued 13 “significant” new regulations, bringing the yearly total to 389 according to the Federal Register; the federal government has issued 50,402 pages of regulations in 2011, including more than 2,400 this week.
At the current pace, the total regulatory burden for 2011 will exceed $105.6 billion. Since January 1, the federal government has imposed more than 47.2 million annual paperwork burden hours and $65 billion in compliance costs.
Also highlighted in the post are the growing regulatory burdens of Dodd-Frank and the federal takeover of health insurance. No wonder small businesses are finding it difficult to cut through the red tape—the federal bureaucracy seems to be producing more of it than ever, despite President Obama’s declarations to the opposite.
What are House Republicans doing?
Last month the House Education and Workforce Committee favorably reported H.R. 2587, the Protecting Jobs from Government Interference Act. Introduced by Rep. Tim Scott (R-SC), the bill would prohibit the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) from ordering an employer to restore or reinstate any work or employee, or from requiring investment in a particular plant or facility. The bill is in response to a complaint filed in April of this year by the NLRB against the Boeing Corporation for its decision to locate a production facility in South Carolina, a “right-to-work” state. The NLRB is seeking to force the company to keep its production in Washington, where the workforce is unionized. Regarding the bill, committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) said, “Republicans refuse to allow federal bureaucrats to reverse the business decisions of employers. The Protecting Jobs from Government Interference Act takes a critical step to provide employers with the certainty they need to put Americans back to work, right here at home.”