Republicans have made it clear that any regulatory measures involving workplace safety or the environment are "job-killing regulations,” making it no surprise that the Republican majority in the House of Representatives voted July 26 to pass H.R. 4078, the Red Tape Reduction and Small Business Job Creation Act. The measure, which freezes the implementation of significant regulations by the Obama administration, was approved by a vote of 245 mostly Republicans to 172 mostly Democrats.
Depending on who is commenting, the Red Tape Reduction and Small Business Job Creation Act will be the savior of small business or the death of the American worker.
Originally called the Regulatory Freeze for Jobs Act of 2012, which was introduced by Congressman Tim Griffin (R-Ark.) in March, the act places a moratorium on new, "significant" regulations until the national unemployment rate stabilizes at or below 6 percent. The current unemployment rate is just over 8 percent; in January 2003, it was just under 6 percent.
“Hardworking Americans deserve a regulatory system that doesn’t hamstring their ability to invest, hire and grow,” said Griffin, upon its passage. “Yet Arkansas job creators have repeatedly told me how excessive and overly burdensome regulations have prevented them from hiring more employees and growing the economy. With America’s unemployment rate above 8 percent for 41 straight months and counting, even President Obama has admitted that 'unnecessary or too costly' regulations are 'placing unreasonable burdens on business [and having] a chilling effect on growth and jobs.' He's identified the problem, and by passing the Red Tape Reduction and Small Business Job Creation Act, the House has provided the solution."
According to Bill Kovacs, senior vice president for environment, technology and regulatory affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, “There are millions of jobs that are never created because of a dysfunctional permitting system that allows for endless challenges and appeals on all issues no matter how minor. This legislation would create a streamlined process to make many of these projects a reality.”
In addition to removing what the Chamber claims are “unnecessary and costly barriers obstructing critical projects by streamlining the permitting process,” H.R. 4078 incorporates the provisions contained in the “Sunshine for Regulatory Decrees and Settlements Act of 2012.” The chamber claims agencies do an end-run around the legal protections ensuring that the public has a say in the development of regulations.
“While settlements often can be an efficient use of court resources, the settlement process shouldn’t be regularly used as a way for agencies and environmental advocacy groups to engage in behind-the-scenes policymaking and the issuance of rules based on an agreement between a federal agency and a special interest organization,” Kovacs stated. “We commend House members for passing comprehensive reform that simplifies a regulatory system that has been growing at a very rapid rate for decades, and we urge the Senate to follow suit.”