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Posted at 1:02 PM ET, 02/10/2011

Business leaders at Issa hearing: Regulations hurt job growth

By Felicia Sonmez

Business leaders vented their frustrations with government regulations on Thursday at a committee hearing chaired by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), while Democratic lawmakers on the panel argued that some government rules are necessary to protect public health and safety.

Eight business representatives gave testimony at the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing, at which they pointed to a host of regulations across the federal government that they said adversely affected job growth. Their targets ranged from financial regulatory reform provisions to transportation, labor, environmental and energy rules.

Harry Alford, CEO of the Black Chamber of Commerce, took aim at the administration's moratorium on deepwater oil drilling in the wake of the BP oil spill, arguing that other companies should not be punished for what Alford called BP's "irresponsibility and lengthy record of safety violations."

"As we know too well, BP's safety record has been stained for many years and it's the responsibility of our government to appropriately address BP's long history of negligence. ... I think we can all acknowledge however that the government's actions should not punish those that follow the law, implement industry best practices and have demonstrated sterling safety records," Alford said.

Others, including Jack Buschur, owner of a small electric contracting business, argued against Environmental Protection Agency regulations, including prevailing wage rules, which Buschur said overburden businesses by requiring them to do additional record-keeping.

Thursday's hearing came after businesses sent more than 200 letters and reports to Issa in which they made their case against scores of federal regulations that they said negatively affected job growth.

President Obama issued an executive order and two memoranda last month calling on every federal agency to conduct a review of their existing regulations and laying out a set of principles for any new rules adopted.

At Thursday's hearing, James Gattuso, a senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation, hailed Obama's executive order on regulations as a "welcome step" but expressed concern that the move "falls short of what is needed." He urged the consideration of the letters from business leaders to be included as part of that regulatory review.

"For instance, although President Obama has stated that he has called for a 'government-wide review' of existing rules, agencies only are required to submit preliminary plans for ongoing reviews in the future," Gattuso said. "This adds little to the review requirements that already exist in statute and prior executive orders. Moreover, President Obama's order excludes independent agencies, thus exempting some of the biggest sources of regulation."

Democrats, led by Oversight Committee Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), highlighted the benefits of regulations and argued that government rules protecting the public can't be tossed aside for the sake of profit.

"We have a lot of things that go into why some jobs do not stay here in America," Cummings said. "So the question then becomes, at some point, what will our standard be? Will we bend to a lower standard where children are being exploited, for example, so that we can make more profit?"

In addition to Alford and Buschur, other witnesses at the hearing included Jay Timmons, CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers; Karen Kerrigan, president of the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council; Tom Nassif, president and CEO of the Western Growers Association; Michael Fredrich, president of MCM Composites LLC; and Jerry Ellig, a senior research fellow at George Mason University's Mercatus Center.

In a report prepared ahead of the hearing, Oversight Committee staff concluded that "many regulations that appear to impose a large burden on the private sector, while providing a dubious benefit to the public, still remain on course and on the books."

The hearing comes as House Republican leaders have scheduled nine-and-a-half hours of debate on H.R. 72, a measure that would require 10 different House committees to examine and report on regulations that may hamper job creation. Floor debate is scheduled to begin Thursday, with a vote expected to come on Friday.

By Felicia Sonmez  | February 10, 2011; 1:02 PM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency  
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Comments

I'm afraid that congress is wasting time and lacks vision. The definition of insanity is to keep doing things over and over even though there's no positive results. Most environmental and safety rules are needed to protect the public and workers. Congress should be looking at how to improve compliance and enforcement efficiency. Even if many rules are repealed this will not mean more jobs for the average worker. It will simply mean more profits and higher salaries for corporate bosses and higher stock prices. It would also likely mean more pollution and worker accidents etc. Congress needs to focus on how to create incentives for business to spend the trillion dollars in capital they are sitting on. Tax credits for research and development of new cutting edge products to improve our daily lives would be a good start. We just can't continue doing things the way we've been doing them for the last one hundred years and think that will be able to solve our current problems. Out of the box thinking is needed.

Posted by: MrCrash | February 11, 2011 3:18 AM | Report abuse

The problem with global warming and the scientific community is that there is a 90/10 split and the 10% get as much media time as the 90%... That's the rub... No matter what story comes on the news about global warming and its causes (humans) the story always gets followed up with equal time from the "flat-earth" scientists(?)

What this does is allows for Boss Hog Pullution, Inc to continue to pollute and with Joe Sixpack thinkin' "Well, Ralph, seems that the scientist are split on this one so party on"...

Problem with the "party on" folks is that we are not only sending up a lit of bad stuff into our atmospheric rings but we are also burning up stuff that is not unlimited...

So, really, it doesn't much matter which path you take to figure out that we really shouldn't be burning so much stuff... I mean, you look at pictures of Los Angeles in the summer and ya' gotta wonder if it would look that way if man wasn't burnin' so much stuff out there??? I kinda think that it wouldn't look like that at all if people hadn't, ahhhhh, moved in...

Kinda reminds me of an old song...

"Well, the scientist say
it will all wash away
but we don't believe in them any more"...

This was about Mt St Helens...

My former pa-in law was a lobbyist for Big Oil... API... American Petroleum Institute... Always said "It'll all wash away" but it doesn't...

We need to get the flat earthers outta science...

Bob

Posted by: bobnpvine | February 10, 2011 11:08 PM | Report abuse

Sorry for your ignorance, alance . . .

Global Warming is REAL - Period.
(Yes - got my doctoral degree at FSU's Institute of Space Biosciences).

Global Warming Deniers are simply ignorant victims of OIL/COAL/GAS giants who spend MILLIONS to spread lies about the Fact and DANGERS of Global Warming!

Posted by: lufrank1 | February 10, 2011 9:03 PM | Report abuse

Sigh! Now a done deal, finalized by the Supreme Court, especially Scalia and Thomas.

Corporate ABSOLUTE control of campaign financing, Koch Brothers/Exxon/the NRA/Pharmaceutical/Health Insurance/ Coal mega corps... the billionaire Chamber of Commerce NOW LITERALLY OWN CONGRESS AND THE SUPREME COURT. . . and as amoral idiots like Beck/Hannity/Gingrich/Limbaugh/O'Reilly/Coulter/Rove/Cheney, etc. are still worshiped by white Red-Neck Holy Rollers....
Abandon all Hope!

The working class might as well move to Egypt.

Posted by: lufrank1 | February 10, 2011 8:57 PM | Report abuse

The freezing weather and climate ain't fit for man nor beast - the coldest winter temps ever recorded in Georgia - and the Administration is shutting down coal power plants because of global warming.

CO2 is not a greenhouse gas and never was. Get over it - it is a scam to tax energy.

Posted by: alance | February 10, 2011 6:49 PM | Report abuse

Corporations are looking for a profit by investing overseas.
We should not encourage that.\
Instead, we need tariffs to stop that practice.
Let the corporations scream!
Clifford Spencer

Posted by: yankeefan1925 | February 10, 2011 5:51 PM | Report abuse

Motorfriend, just a few points of order:

“Whereas Liberals believe that "rights" are something you're entitled to simply for breathing, Republicans understand that rights are privileges that must be earned through some self-sacrificial activity such as joining the military or owning and maintaining property”

Wow, someone needs a civics lesson, rights are just that rights guaranteed by the Constitution. We are free and given inalienable rights endowed by our creator. Free freedom is an oxymoron; we are all free in this country. What you argue for laissez-faire simply because one owns property they should have more rights. That type of thinking would put our country on permanent feudal serfdom. How would the inner city youth ever get ahead, his/her environment geared only towards survival would not have much time to educate and innovate. Food, clothing, shelter always come first before anything else. You are too comfortable criticizing others to understand real suffering.


“When they talk about providing "health care," they are talking about taking it away from honest, hard-working, tax-paying Real Americans and delivering it for nothing to the minority races.”

Oh and btw you appear to be a racist as much funding to low income people goes to white folks as they are still the majority. But by all means bring up the welfare queen that old tired canard.

“Beneath the sympathetic expression of every Liberal is an iron-fisted Stalin or a goose-stepping Hitler hoping to someday outdo Pol Pot.”


What a sham arguing the liberals equal totalitarianism, you may prefer to live in the land that time forgot but I won’t. The Great Gatsby and the roaring twenties are over, we almost witnessed a return to their aftermath, you must remember (reading?) about the Great Depression. Without the TARP we would all know what it is to stand in line at soup kitchens. Then you could poke fun at yourself for hoping that government would ask for the crumbs off a rich man’s plate to feed and keep you warm. Say your blessings because it was liberals who saved you from the abyss.

“The only Liberal retardant that really works is a Snake Flag. Wave it proudly and vigorously like the tail of a rattler!”

And much like the snake you so admire, your failure to acknowledge that the TARP funds saved the country is like biting the hand that feeds you.

Posted by: avanderhoven | February 10, 2011 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Government unchecked does over-regulate and at times goes too far; however, Republicans, Issa in particular, are far too anxious to eliminate the good with the bad, forgetting, if they ever knew, that historically corporations are eager to operate regulation-free in order to increase profits. If this damages the environment, increases the number of Americans living in poverty and devastates the middle class, so be it. Let freedom ring, so long as it means more profits to spread among the few at the top.

Posted by: Diogenes | February 10, 2011 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Government unchecked does over-regulate and at times goes too far; however, Republicans, Issa in particular, is far too anxious to eliminate the good with the bad, forgetting, if he ever knew, that historically corporations are eager to operate regulation-free in order to increase profits. If this damages the environment, increases the number of Americans living in poverty and devastates the middle class, so be it. Let freedom ring, so long as it means more profits to spread among the few at the top.

Posted by: Diogenes | February 10, 2011 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Okay, ignoring the BP oil spill as being a serious drilling issue that needs to be addressed is blatantly irresponsible. We know we cannot prevent or contain such spills, so let's forget about it?
As for "many regulations that appear to impose a large burden on the private sector, while providing a dubious benefit to the public, still remain on course and on the books." Give me one example!
There are regulations in place that prevent or discourage companies from building in America, however, introducing child labor isn't an answer, nor is doing away with protections for employees or for the environment.
We want jobs to stay in America? Tax the hell out of those greedy companies that go overseas!!!!
Oh, wait, sorry, they're the ones that fund presidential campaigns, so that won't work unless we fix campaign contributions!
We are really seeing that all of this corruption we've been ignoring is bad for a reason.

Posted by: hebe1 | February 10, 2011 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Dear Business Leaders: Here's a quarter, call somebody who cares! I for one would like to have a clean environment for myself and family. You greedy people would exploit your own Mothers to make a buck. I wish you cared as much about America as you do your bank accounts.

Posted by: lddoyle2002 | February 10, 2011 4:01 PM | Report abuse

PEPCO is there, protesting loudly about government regulation . . .

. . . just kidding but there's a point to be made.

Posted by: palmtree2001 | February 10, 2011 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Good post, Junius.

Dear Motorfriend: considering that America received not less than 240 years of free labor from certain minority races, one of whom might consider... "Yes, we'll pay for lunch and anything else we want, but FIRST, sir, YOU must provide fair market value reparations for those 240 unpaid years, plus the missed wages AND interest on the average difference in wages between you and us with similar job titles from, say, 1894 to current with annual review ongoing. Put it on paper and in the bank. We are yours forever.

Posted by: dcjazzman | February 10, 2011 3:05 PM | Report abuse

JuniusPublicus - If business feel that the regulations are hurting the bottom line, they will look for ways to improve the bottom line, like shipping jobs off-shore.

You want the jobs to come back, help the business improve their bottom line, not tack on more regulations.

Posted by: ahashburn | February 10, 2011 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Whereas Liberals believe that "rights" are something you're entitled to simply for breathing, Republicans understand that rights are privileges that must be earned through some self-sacrificial activity such as joining the military or owning and maintaining property. The harsh truth is that "freedom isn't free," nor is lunch. Yet Liberals persist in demanding free freedom by creating a totalitarian government that treats every citizen as a slave. When they talk about providing "health care," they are talking about taking it away from honest, hard-working, tax-paying Real Americans and delivering it for nothing to the minority races. Beneath the sympathetic expression of every Liberal is an iron-fisted Stalin or a goose-stepping Hitler hoping to someday outdo Pol Pot. The only Liberal retardant that really works is a Snake Flag. Wave it proudly and vigorously like the tail of a rattler!

Posted by: motorfriend | February 10, 2011 2:28 PM | Report abuse

I hate speed limits and red light cameras. I do not like stopping at stop signs and stop lights. I think the US should remove al traffic regulations, as these rules are hurting the business of selling cars. If we have more accidents, people will replace cars faster, thereby making for MORE jobs for car salespersons, doctors, and lawyers. EASY

Posted by: patmatthews | February 10, 2011 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Who is John Galt?


Posted by: 2010Rout | February 10, 2011 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Will our politicians stop grandstanding please! And I mean both sides. Not a single person testifying even remotely suggested repealing child labor laws. Yet this bafoon boisters about exploiting children to distract from have a real debate.

Posted by: akmzrazor | February 10, 2011 2:12 PM | Report abuse

These guys are drooling over gutting consumer, worker and environmental safety provisions, all for the spurious reason of job growth. I say spurious because the facts are these: most of the items on the list (se WaPo yesterday) have no conceivale conection to job growth. Plus, companies right now are flush with money, but still do not want to hire more employees. Why? Lowere the payrool, higher the profits. They can exploit the wrokers they already have with longer hours, less pay, and less benefits (if any), and threaten to move the company to a foreign country if anyone complains. They would love to gut regulation AND continue their current non-hiring practices.

Posted by: JuniusPublicus | February 10, 2011 1:49 PM | Report abuse

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