When Congress returns from recess next week, the political conversation is going to be all about jobs. As President Obama prepares to outline his “very specific” jobs proposal in a speech, House Republicans are readying a plan of their own. A key element to the GOP jobs agenda will be identifying and eliminating federal regulations that are needlessly burdening business owners and in many cases preventing them from hiring new employees. To that end, House committee chairmen have put together a list of “the 10 most harmful job-destroying regulations,” and plan to take action over the coming weeks and months to repeal or forestall these restrictive measures.
The following ten federal regulations — some of them pending, some of them already in effect — are, according to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R., Va.), “reflective of the types of costly bureaucratic handcuffs that Washington has forced upon business people who want to create jobs.”
NLRB’s Boeing Complaint
In April, the National Labor Relations Board’s general counsel issued a complaint
against the Boeing company challenging the airline manufacturer’s decision to open a new plant in South Carolina, a right-to-work
state. The general counsel claims the move was an unlawful “retaliation” against the unionized workforce at Boeing’s existing plant in Washington State. Despite the fact that no union workers have lost their jobs as a result of the decision, the NLRB is seeking a “restoration order” against Boeing that would force a return to the status quo ante, giving unions the ability to bargain for a new plant in Washington. Meanwhile, Boeing has already invested some $2 billion in the South Carolina plant and created more than 2,000 jobs, all of which has been put at risk by the NLRB’s actions. Because Boeing will now have to spend millions defending itself in court, the ruling is likely to deter future investment and job creation across the country. Freshman Rep. Tim Scott (R., S.C.) has sponsored the Protecting Jobs from Government Interference Act, which would stop the complaint from proceeding. The House plans to vote on the bill shortly after they return in September.
MACT and CSAPR Utility Standards
The Obama administration has proposed new maximum-achievable-control-technology (MACT) standards and a cross-state air-pollution rule (CSAPR) for utility plants that will have a direct impact on utilities prices across the country. The new rules will affect more that 1,000 fossil-fuel-fired power plants, a number of which will likely be forced to shut down. As a result, Americans in many parts of the country could find themselves paying anywhere from 12 to 24 percent more for electricity. The House will vote next month on the Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation (TRAIN) Act, sponsored by Rep. John Sullivan (R., Okla.), which would mandate a cumulative economic analysis for regulations proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and delay implementation of the new utility standards until the full impact of the administration’s regulatory agenda can be sufficiently analyzed.
Boiler MACT Rules
The EPA’s new “boiler MACT” rules would impose stricter emissions standards for some 200,000 commercial, institutional, and industrial boilers nationwide, and stand to dramatically impact the thousands of American businesses — from hospitals to factories to universities — that use them. EPA officials estimated the cost of the new rules at about $10 billion, though others predict the true cost will be almost double that figure. The U.S. Small Business Administration warned that the rules would cause “significant new regulatory costs” for businesses, institutions, and municipalities across the country, with the American forest and paper industry alone expected to see an additional burden of at least $5–7 billion in new capital and compliance costs. A U.S. Commerce Department analysis predicted job losses of up to 60,000 as a result of the stricter requirements — much greater than the EPA had initially claimed — while some estimates put the job loss figure at closer to 200,000. The EPA Regulatory Relief Act, sponsored by Rep. Morgan Griffith (R., Va.), would impose a stay on four related EPA regulations issued earlier this year and give the agency more time to issue new, less onerous rules. The House will vote on the bill in early October.