Obama Goes Tit-for-Tat With Boehner on Regs

     WASHINGTON (CN) – President Obama responded to Speaker of the House John Boehner’s request for a list of all proposed regulations that would cost more than $1 billion annually with a list of seven such programs.



     Obama noted that the programs and their associated costs were just proposals, which would be subject to the normal regulatory review process, so pinpointing exact costs was impossible so early in the process.
     Boehner’s request, in the form of a public letter to the president, made clear that he was concerned by what he said was a 15 percent increase in the number of regulations published the annual regulatory agenda likely to cost more than $100 million annually.
     Obama politely replied Tuesday that the estimated cost of the regulatory agenda during the first two years of his administration was less than those proposed during the last two years of his Republican predecessor George Bush.
     The president also pointed out that an executive order he issued in January required all federal agencies to review the economic impact of their regulations and to cut red tape where possible had already resulted in cost saving proposals from 26 agencies.
     “A mere fraction of the initiatives described in the plans will save more than $10 billion over the next 5 years; as progress continues, we expect to be able to deliver savings far in excess of that figure,” Obama said.
     All federal agencies are required to publish their annual regulatory agenda for the coming budget year. The lists, which serve as guide posts to an agency’s political and practical priorities often include far more changes than could be accomplished through the review process in a given year.
     The lists also are used to communicate to interest groups that the agency still has their concerns in mind when it sets its agenda.
     For instance, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service includes listing actions for species on its Candidate List for species protection under the Endangered Species Act, but the number of actions always is less than those proposed in the regulatory agenda.
     Obama did not directly respond to an assertion Boehner made in his letter that the regulatory agenda was “one the primary impediments to job creation, especially for small businesses.”
     Instead, the president quoted from his January executive order saying that he looked forward to working with the speaker to create a regulatory system that will “protect public health, welfare, safety, and our environment while promoting economic growth, innovation, competitiveness, and job creation.”

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