Late last year, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), now the Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, sent letters to hundreds of businesses to solicit feedback on government regulations that they felt impede job creation. Today, he posted the submissions he received — a collection of almost 2,000 pages from 160 industry groups, ranging from the American Meat Institute to the Chamber of Commerce.
Even with just a cursory scan of the documents, it’s clear there’s at least one government agency that industry wants reigned in, immediately: the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). More than 100 responses point to EPA rules as an obstacle to job creation.
Issa has characterized his project as a way to measure the real-life impact of regulations on the private-sector in order to create jobs and jump-start the economy. But many are skeptical and believe that this is the beginning of an all-out assault on regulation — aided with a “wish list” helpfully prepared by big business.
“The American people sent us here not only to create jobs, but also to protect their health, welfare, and safety,” said Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD). “There must be a reasonable balance between job creation, which we all support, and regulatory measures that provide core protections to the American people.
Cummings noted that Issa only requested information on the potential costs of regulation — ignoring any benefits to health and safety that regulations often ensure. Cummings had previously unsuccessfully requested copies of businesses’ responses to Issa.
Among the groups griping about the EPA is the American Iron and Steel Institute, a trade association representing steel-making companies. They complained that in the past two years — since Obama has been in office — “the EPA has undertaken an extensive regulatory agenda, proposing a substantial number of new regulatory initiatives in a number of program areas, including air, water, toxic chemicals, and solid waste.”
They go on to detail the regulations that “threaten the restoration or preservation of manufacturing jobs,” including greenhouse gas regulations, the Clean Air Act and OSHA.
“There are a number of regulations from both the EPA and OSHA that, if not implemented correctly and appropriately, could limit the steel industry’s global competitiveness, investment and job growth in coming years,” they conclude.
Issa also launched a website this week to hear directly from the public, www.americanjobcreators.com, asking “Where does Washington help, and where does it hurt? We’re listening.” On Thursday, he’s holding a hearing on “Regulatory Impediments to Job Creation.”
“This will be the first step in what must be a sustained effort to advance a dialogue that compliments President Obama’s call to examine regulatory barriers that are impeding job creation,” Issa said in a press release. “As Congress and the Administration begin the process of examining regulations, the voices of job creators and their experiences must be part of the broader discussion.”
Download all the letters and let us know about the important things we’re missing. We’ll follow up in a later story.