Republicans Slam Obama for ‘Regulation Nation’

     WASHINGTON (CN) – House Republicans slammed the Obama administration Thursday for regulating excessively, while Democrats labeled deregulation as the root of economic collapse.
     Fighting claims that President Barack Obama has ushered in a “tsunami of nonsense,” responsible for suppressing employment numbers and slowing economic recovery, Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., remained resolute.
     “There is no substantive evidence that regulations have any impact on job creation,” Conyers told the House Judiciary Committee.
     Three of the four witnesses testifying at the hearing were staunch supporters and donors to the Romney campaign, the Democrat noted.
     “So, you can see where we’re headed this morning,” Conyers said.
     Robert Luddy, a North Carolina small business owner, gave testimony echoing the Republican sentiment that excessive and burdensome regulation hurt small business.
     “Over the last several decades, the number, scope and burden of federal regulations have expanded exponentially,” Luddy said. “Multiple studies have shown that America’s regulatory infrastructure costs the U.S. economy anywhere from hundreds of billions of dollars to over $1 trillion.”
     Luddy, who has created more than 700 jobs through his company CaptiveAire Systems, is a member of the Job Creators Alliance.
     Lisa Heinzerling, a law professor at Georgetown University, disputed Luddy’s testimony when she took the stand.
     “You have the power to undo any rule you want,” Heinzerling said to Luddy and committee Republicans.
     Luddy countered: “A small-business person doesn’t have the resources to talk to the federal government. It’s too vast.”
     Republicans brought up several instances of regulations they considered burdensome, including a 50-foot wheelchair ramp leading to a loading dock entrance that nobody uses. They also pointed out that roofers are required to wear excessive harnesses, even when they are working on flat roofs 8 feet above the ground.
     Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas, linked excessive regulations to unemployment numbers, saying businesses are burdened by regulatory costs.
     “In 2008, the U.S. economy was rated the most competitive in the world,” Smith said. “Since then, it has fallen to seventh place. And the United States’ credit rating has been downgraded and another downgrade has been threatened. This is not what the Obama administration promised for economic recovery when it took office.”
     Smith said that the Obama administration adopted 106 major rules that impose $46 billion in annual regulatory costs on the private sector.
     “America’s job creators don’t need more government regulation, they need fewer burdens, lower costs and an environment in which they can predict whether they can hire and make a profit,” Smith said.
     Ranking Democrat Conyers dismissed Smith’s statement as more political posturing in a month where committee Republicans have accused President Obama of abusing his executive authority and violating the Constitution.
     “Make no mistake, today’s hearing is another example of political opportunism,” Conyers said.
     Heinzerling and committee Democrats repeatedly pointed to the Clean Water Act, and other regulations that they say save lives.
     “The debate over regulation is often not framed in a reasonable or even honest way,” Heinzerling testified. “All too often, in fact, the debate recklessly ignores the many benefits of regulation and inaccurately reports its costs.”
     Without regulations, “we would be in trouble, Heinzerling said. “We wouldn’t have clean water or safe drugs. When you have unconstrained behavior by humans what you get is harm.”

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