President Barack Obama continues to defend federal regulations while preparing to launch a jobs plan as House Republicans are proposing several tax-cutting measures that include listing several regulations costing more than $1 billion. The GOP is also preparing their own jobs agenda focused on reducing the regulatory burden on American businesses.
On Wednesday, Obama sent Republican House Speaker John Boehner a list of the seven new regulations after Boehner pressed the president to release the information for planning purposes.
On the list are four EPA regulations on ozone air quality standards and national emission standards and three Department of Transportation regulations. Many of the regulations have a primary cost estimate that far exceed $1 billion dollars. Regulations reconsidering the 2008 ozone national ambient air quality standards total $19 to 90 billion alone.
The president defended the list and told the speaker that the regulatory agenda was "merely a list of rules that are under general contemplation," "merely proposed" and "in a highly preliminary state."
However, Brian Darling, a senior fellow for government studies at The Heritage Foundation, cast some doubt on these claims. "If these rules are being published, [then] they're in the process of implementing them," he said
If Obama's regulatory agenda is approved and the seven rules are put in place, Darling says taxpayers are going to feel the brunt of the changes.
"Regulations impose a hidden cost on the taxpayer to the tune of about $1.75 trillion a year," Darling said quoting a report developed by the Small Business Administration.
The Heritage Foundation also notes in its own report that regulators have, from the beginning of president Obama administration to mid-fiscal year 2011, imposed $38 billion alone in new costs on Americans.
"It's really hampering our economic growth the fact that we have all these regulations on the books," Darling said.
House Republicans say they have enough regulation. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor announced last week in a Washington Post op-ed that the GOP will pursue a legislative agenda that would "boost economic growth through reducing regulatory and tax burdens."
Cantor announced Monday that the House would target ten major regulations for elimination, including regulations on cement and farm dust.
Four of Obama's disclosed regulations are on the House's list, The Hill reported.
Not to be left out, Obama announced in his letter that he too is concerned about regulation.
"I agree that it is extremely important to minimize regulatory burdens and to avoid unjustified regulatory costs, particularly in this difficult economic period," he wrote.
He also recalled Executive Order 13563, imposing "a series of new requirements designed to reduce regulatory burdens and costs." The requirements include a government wide review of regulations in the hopes of executing cost-cutting reform.
That order was issued in January. The review was completed, and the resulting reform plans from 26 agencies promise to save more than $10 billion over the next five years.
Obama assured, "As progress continues, we expect to be able to deliver savings far in excess of that figure."
Darling laments that regulations are allowed to stack up with very little review.
He reasoned, "When you have regulation after regulation stacking up and yet you have, you know, a government-issued study that indicates that it's a $1.75 trillion hidden tax on the American people every year that's a problem we need to look at regulations maybe not promulgating new ones may be look back and get rid of ones that aren't serving any useful purpose anymore."