Yesterday, President Obama spoke at Scranton High School about his roundly-unsupported American Jobs Act, during which he branded himself a pro-jobs tax cutter.
I know, I know. Contain your laugher.
He spent a great deal of time blaming Republicans for his bill's failure, and appealing to voters for support of his proposed millionaires' tax, which would cover the costs of extending the payroll tax cut. In addition to his rhetorical staples -- "Pass this bill" and "fair share" among them -- he claimed to be fighting for small businesses and the middle class:
We want an America where hard work is valued and responsibility is rewarded. We’re fighting to rebuild an economy that restores security for the middle class and renews opportunity for folks that are trying to get into the middle class. We’re fighting to build an economy that’s not based on outsourcing and tax loopholes and risky financial schemes, but one that’s built to last -- one where we invest in things like education and small businesses -- an economy that’s built on manufacturing and building things again and selling them all around the world.
So there he is, America. The economy's number one cheerleader. Why, then, is he set to veto bill intended to save jobs from overregulation?
In an op/ed today, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) gives a rundown of three bills coming before the House this week that are intended to hold regulatory agencies more accountable for the measures they pass. The goal is to ensure that businesses aren't tied up trying to figure out how to comply with myriad federal regulations, and can instead focus on growth.
The REINS [Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny] Act requires Congress to take an up-or-down vote to approve regulations that have an economic impact of $100 million or more before they can be imposed on the American people.
The REINS Act enables the American people to hold their elected representatives in Congress accountable for the most burdensome regulations.
The Regulatory Accountability Act is a bipartisan, bicameral bill that ensures regulations are necessary and cost-effective. It requires agencies to do a better job of determining whether new regulations are even needed. And when regulations are necessary, the bill requires agencies to adopt the lowest-cost alternative to achieve the goals.
The Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act requires agencies to identify the costs new regulations could impose on small businesses and to write the regulations in ways that reduce those costs. It also gives small businesses more opportunities to be heard as regulations are written and forces agencies to look at ways to cut the costs of regulations already on the books.
These bills are designed to help small businesses, for whom regulation compliance is the greatest reported concern when given an open-ended poll. If potential job creaters cite overbearing regulations as their biggest hurdle, then wouldn't President Obama, the self-proclaimed job saver-and-or-creator, want to alleviate this burden?
The Obama administration said both bills would create new hurdles to federal regulation, and that President Obama's advisors would recommend a veto if either were presented for signature. The administration used nearly identical language in opposing both bills.
"The Regulatory Accountability Act would impose unprecedented procedural requirements on agencies that would prevent them from performing their statutory responsibilities," the administration said of H.R. 3010. "It would also create needless regulatory and legal uncertainty and increase costs for businesses, as well as state, tribal, and local governments, and further impede the implementation of commonsense protections for the American public."
Granted, it's not wholly surprising to learn that the president is opposed to measures that would curb regulation-happy agencies such as the NLRB -- after all, that's hardly the politically expedient option for a man who believes government is the solution to everything. Still, though, it bears note that once again, his pro-jobs rhetoric is just that: rhetoric. And so, too, is his anti-Washington schtick.
In that same speech in Scranton, he said, "This cannot be about who wins and loses in Washington. This is about delivering a win for the American people. That’s what this is about."
Except, apparently, when it's he and his regulatory agencies who lose. In that case, veto away.