Jackson Cit Pat: Rolling back red tape and unleashing economic growth
One of the consistent concerns I hear from small businesses and manufacturers as I travel the 7th District is the endless regulatory onslaught coming out of Washington, D.C.
For too long, unelected bureaucrats in the federal government's expansive agencies and departments have imposed ill-conceived and excessive rules with little to no consideration about the real-world impact on every sector of our economy.
Outside our nation's capital, this avalanche of red tape has made life more expensive for Michigan families, farmers, and small businesses and has been an obstacle to wage and job growth.
The statistics are staggering. In the past eight years, the Obama administration handed down more than 3,000 regulations resulting in an $890 billion regulatory burden on taxpayers, according to the American Action Forum. In 2016, the administration's sweeping regulatory output set a record for the most major rules in one year in history.
Fortunately, Congress is working to reverse this aggressive overregulation at the federal level, understanding that regulatory reform is a key component to more robust economic growth.
So far this year, the House has voted to overturn more than 15 harmful regulations rushed through during the waning months of the Obama administration. Using a legislative tool known as the Congressional Review Act, or CRA, we've rolled back some of the most damaging 11th hour Obama-era regulations. Taken together, these actions will save an estimated 4.2 million hours of paperwork burdens and $3.7 billion in regulatory costs.
The House also passed the REINS Act to put a check on overreaching bureaucrats and curb costly red tape. The bill's premise is simple: Before a major rule with an economic impact of $100 million or more goes effect, the people's representatives in Congress should put it to an up or down vote. Doing so will increase accountability and protect our economy from job-killing regulations that the people never voted for in the first place.
To bring greater transparency to the rulemaking process, the House passed my bill, the Regulatory Integrity Act. It requires federal agencies to post, in a central location, all the communications they issue during the proposed rule stage so that Americans can fully participate and trust that the process is neutral and unbiased. The bipartisan bill will help ensure agencies are genuinely asking for and considering constructive feedback from the public, not advocating for a predetermined outcome.
An overhaul of our nation's regulatory system is long overdue. When done right and responsibly, regulations play a necessary role in the safety and wellbeing of our communities. When done in a harmful and heavy-handed way, regulations go beyond their intended purpose and stand in the way of innovation and a healthy economy.
We need to restore the right balance, return power to the people, and provide relief to families and small businesses. If we do that, we can put an end to Washington's regulatory micromanagement and begin to unleash the full potential of America's economy.
- U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg, R-Tipton, represents the 7th Congressional District and is a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the House Education and the Workforce Committee. This op-ed originally appeared in the April 9 edition of the Jackson Citizen Patriot.