Later today, the House of Representatives will seize the opportunity to bring some common sense to the outdated regulatory system in America. It will pass the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act (REINS Act) and send the Senate yet another bipartisan bill that we should pass and send to President Obama, who should sign it. A veto, which the president has threatened, would send another job-stifling chill through the American economy.
The REINS Act, introduced by Rep. Geoff Davis and Sen. Rand Paul, would require that Congress approve every new “major” rule proposed by the executive branch before it is enforced. A “major rule” is any rule that is determined by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to result in an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more.
Burdensome regulations are hurting job creation in America. As any job creator will testify, job creation happens when the economic environment offers certainty and incentives to start a business or expand an existing one. Unfortunately, regulations coming out of Washington are costly, time-consuming, and burdensome — and oftentimes there is no compelling justification for their existence. These rules force job creators to devote precious resources to hire new accountants and lawyers to comply with the new mandates, instead of focusing on hiring a new engineer or investing in equipment. In fact, a recent Gallup poll put “complying with government regulations” at the top of concerns faced by small-business owners.
This year alone, 772 regulatory documents have been deemed “significant” under the president’s definition, heaping an estimated $230 billion in new compliance costs on the struggling economy. A staggering 76,292 pages of regulations have been added to the Federal Register, and the expected paperwork burden for businesses stands at 119.4 million hours per year. Regulations based on sound science that keep the American people safe are an important function of the federal government, but it is quite clear that our runaway regulatory system must be reined in to help foster private-sector job creation. An estimate from the American Action Forum finds that passage of the REINS Act could yield regulatory cost savings of over $40 billion and save 55,000 jobs.
The most obvious example of regulatory overreach is the health-care-spending law, which I’m hopeful the Supreme Court will strike down as unconstitutional. The uncertainty caused by Obamacare’s maze of government mandates and tax hikes is hurting job creation, and it must be repealed in full and replaced with patient-centered solutions that lower health-care costs without hurting the economy.
Washington’s regulatory blizzard is also having a disproportionate effect on Florida’s dynamic economy. In particular, I am actively working to halt an Internal Revenue Service mandate on U.S. banks that would cause tens of billions of dollars to flee the economy, to have the EPA withdraw its job-killing numeric-nutrient regulation on Florida businesses, to provide relief for fast-growing companies from onerous regulations in the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, and to repeal the Federal Communications Commission’s net-neutrality rules, which would stifle job-creating investment in the Internet industry.
Every member of Congress hears from their constituents about the mountain of government rules like these that are increasing the costs of starting a business or expanding an existing one. Given this reality, it’s no wonder the House of Representatives is set to pass the REINS Act, and it’s why the REINS Act was one of the first bills I co-sponsored upon joining the Senate.
It’s time for Senate Democrats to stop standing in the way of another commonsense bill passed by the House of Representatives that will bring greater accountability and transparency to an archaic regulatory system that is actively impeding desperately needed private-sector job creation.
— Marco Rubio is a U.S. senator from Florida.