White House Admits New Regulations Will Cost US Economy Billions

Posted: Aug 31, 2011 11:27 AM

Here's an idea for the president:  Instead of going through the motions of giving another "major address" on jobs -- essentially re-heating a litany of old ideas -- why not take unilateral action and clear job-killing regulatory sludge out of the economy first?

President Barack Obama says his administration is considering seven new government regulations that would cost the economy more than $1 billion each a year, a tally Republicans will pounce on to argue that Congress needs the power to approve costly government rules.

In a letter to House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, Obama lists four proposed Environmental Protection Agency rules and three Transportation Department rules estimated to cost in excess of $1 billion. One of the proposed EPA rules — an update to the health-based standard for smog — is estimated to cost the economy between $19 billion and $90 billion.  The letter, dated Tuesday, comes as the Republican-controlled House prepares to consider legislation that would require congressional approval for any new regulations that would impose a significant cost on industries.

Republicans have heaped criticism on this administration for imposing, via executive fiat, social and economic measures that failed to pass Congress.  These maneuvers have been decried as effective end-runs around the people's branch.  While most presidents engage in this to some extent, the sheer volume of Obama's regulations is striking.  Several of his administration's executive power-grabs have been so brazen and conspicuous (CO2, DREAM, Boeing), the GOP is (partially) building its alternative job-growth agenda around undoing the damage:

Since passage of H.Res. 72 on February 11, our committee chairmen have been investigating and inventorying regulatory burdens to job creators. They’ve found many that have tied the hands of small business people and prevented job growth. 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.

Click through to see House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's top ten regulatory targets.  Meanwhile, Speaker John Boehner has stepped up his inquiries into the potential cost of more than two hundred new regulations in the pipeline:

Obama’s administration has identified 219 proposed regulations this year with a cost to the economy of more than $100 million each.  Boehner, in a statement, said the administration should now release detailed cost estimates for all those proposed regulations.  “At a time like this, with our economy struggling to create jobs, it’s misguided for the federal government to be imposing so many new rules with such enormous costs, even when some of those rules may be well-intentioned,” he said.

As Politico notes, executive regulatory edicts are up 15 percent over last year, despite the administration's stated goal of paring back the expanding regulatory regime.  The GOP's political and policy response is fairly straightforward: We don't need a jobs speech.  We need the government to get out of the way and unleash the private sector.