Among the seven amendments deemed “dilatory” Thursday night, mine was among them. In a time when Americans want to get back to work, my amendment to cut red tape and create construction jobs was deemed “dilatory” by the Senate Democrat Leader.
His rational and merits were wrong, however if we simply voted on the seven amendments at the typical 15-minute vote limits, the Senate could have moved through them in a little more than an hour and a half. Democrats haphazardly and with partisan vigor changed the Senate over 105 minutes of voting.
Seven amendments that senators introduced in good faith. Senators drafted these amendments, brought them to the Senate floor and asked for the greatest deliberative body in the world to act. What Americans received from the Senate was not a single vote on a single amendment.
My cement amendment would have protected cement and construction industry jobs across America by stopping the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Cement MACT rule. As it stands the EPA’s Cement MACT rule will put our construction workers in the unemployment line while workers in countries like China continue to build new roads and bridges. Congress could have had an opportunity to cancel this job-crushing rule, but instead Democrats chose to change the rules of the Senate to disallow a vote.
If the EPA moves forward with the Cement MACT regulation, it would cut domestic cement manufacturing capacity by 20 percent within the next two years. In addition to destroying jobs in the cement manufacturing industry, the rule is also expected to destroy 80,000 construction and construction related jobs because of higher construction costs. This at a time when we have already lost over one million construction jobs since President Obama took office. Republicans have offered many solutions to our country’s overregulation woes. The president says he is open to all good ideas. Both Democrats and Republicans support scratching his Administration’s Cement MACT regulation. It is a good idea.
– John Barrasso is a Republican senator from Wyoming.