WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) today introduced three pieces of legislation that would ease the regulatory burdens that have been inhibiting American business' ability to create jobs. One bill would freeze federal agencies' ability to impose most new rules and regulations, while a second would close loopholes that have led to federal agencies expanding their powers by circumventing Congressional oversight. A third bill would explicitly prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from regulating farm dust.
"Our job creators are facing a mountain of new rules and regulations deterring them from growing and creating jobs," Johanns said. "The policies and regulations imposed by the Obama Administration have done nothing to alleviate our country's nine percent unemployment rate. If we're serious about creating a positive economic environment, we'll act quickly on these regulatory reforms to enable our job creators to move this economy forward."
The three bills introduced today by Johanns include:
Federal Regulation Moratorium
The Obama Administration to date has proposed more than 54,000 pages of federal regulations in 2011, which would cost American businesses more than $69 billion. This bill would put a freeze on these and any other new regulations through 2013.
Closure of Regulatory Loopholes
This bill would close a loophole that allows agencies to establish power without full Congressional review. Current law permits Congress to disapprove of agency rules; agencies have gotten around this by instead issuing guidance documents to expand their jurisdiction. A recent example is a guidance document issued by EPA that, in the agency's own view, would significantly expand the waters of the United States subject to federal control and regulation. The bill amends the Congressional Review Act to cover both agency rules and guidance documents.
Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act
EPA continues to pursue regulations of farm dust. This bill would prevent EPA from regulating dust in rural America while maintaining the protections to public health under the Clean Air Act. EPA would still be allowed to regulate dust, but only if no local regulations are in place. Additionally, EPA would have to identify scientific evidence of substantial adverse health effects of farm dust as well as demonstrate that the benefits of regulation outweigh the costs to communities.