Chairman Goodlatte: Regulatory reform plays a critical role in ensuring that our nation finally achieves a full economic recovery and retains its competitive edge in the global marketplace. Congress must advance pro-growth policies that create jobs and restore economic prosperity for families and businesses across the nation, and make sure that any Administration and its regulatory apparatus is held accountable to the American people.
America’s small business owners are suffocating under mountains of endlessly growing, bureaucratic red tape. And the uncertainty about the cost of upcoming regulations discourages employers from hiring new employees and expanding their businesses. Excessive regulation means higher prices, lower wages, fewer jobs, less economic growth, and a less competitive America.
Today, Americans face a burden of over $3 trillion from federal taxation and regulation. In fact, our federal regulatory burden is larger than the 2014 Gross Domestic Product of all but the top eight countries in the world. That burden adds up to about $15,000 per American household, nearly thirty percent of average household income in 2015.
Everyone knows it has been this way for far too long. But the Obama Administration, instead of fixing the problem, has known only one response—increase taxes, increase spending and increase regulation.
The results have painfully demonstrated a simple truth—America cannot tax, spend and regulate its way to economic recovery, economic growth and durable prosperity for the American people.
Consider just a few facts that reveal the economic weakness the Obama Administration has produced. In the December 2016 jobs report, the number of unemployed workers, workers who can only find part-time jobs, and workers who are now only marginally attached to the labor force stood at 9.3 percent. They number 15 million Americans.
America’s labor force participation rate remains at lows not seen since the Carter Administration. And median household income still is below the level achieved before the financial crisis, after the entirety of the Obama Administration.
The contrast between America’s current condition and the recovery Ronald Reagan achieved is particularly stark. Four-and-a-half years after a recession began in 1981, the Reagan Administration – through policies opposite to the Obama Administration’s – had achieved a recovery that created 7.8 million more jobs than when the recession began. Real per capita gross domestic product rose by $3,091. Real median household income rose by 7.7 percent.
To truly fix America’s problems, the REINS Act is one of the simplest, clearest and most powerful measures we can adopt. The level of new major regulation from the Obama Administration is without modern precedent. Testimony before the Judiciary Committee during recent Congresses has plainly shown the connection between skyrocketing levels of regulation and declining levels of jobs and growth.
The REINS Act responds by requiring an up-or-down vote by the people’s representatives in Congress before any new major regulation, defined in the bill generally as a rule that has an effect on the economy of at least $100 million, can be imposed on our economy. It does not prohibit new major regulation. It simply establishes the principle, “No major regulation without representation.”
The REINS Act provides Congress, and ultimately the people, with a much needed tool to check the one-way cost ratchet that Washington’s regulatory bureaucrats too often turn.
During the 114th, 113th and 112th Congresses, the REINS Act was passed by the full House of Representatives multiple times, each time with bipartisan support. I thank Mr. Collins of Georgia for re-introducing this legislation and urge all of my colleagues to vote for the REINS Act. I reserve the balance of my time.
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