Chairman Cliff Stearns: Obama's Effort to Prod Independent Agencies to Identify Job-Smothering Red Tape is Welcomed

July 12, 2011

Energy and Commerce Committee leaders welcomed today’s action by President Obama to encourage independent government agencies to identify and weed out outdated and onerous regulations that are undercutting job growth.

Chairman Cliff Stearns (R-FL)

The president’s move follows regulatory czar Cass Sunstein’s startling testimony last month to the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee that independent agencies were not participating in the regulatory relief effort despite his urging.

Last week, senior officials from the Consumer Product Safety Commission, Federal Communications Commission, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and the Federal Trade Commission testified before the subcommittee on how independent agencies were responding to President Obama’s executive order on regulatory reform issued in January.

Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Cliff Stearns (R-FL) issued the following statement in response to the president’s action:

“Last week’s disappointing jobs report underscores the urgent need to fight the bureaucratic red tape that is smothering the nation’s job creators. Today’s action is a welcome acknowledgement by the president that independent agencies like the FCC, FERC, and CPSC are indeed responsible for regulations that are harming our economic growth and sending jobs overseas. Jobs remain our top priority, and we cannot afford to have any federal agency engaging in a regulatory assault on growth and innovation.”

Regulatory Czar Sunstein admits independent agencies had refused to identify job smothering regulations despite his urging

During a startling exchange between Obama regulatory czar Cass Sunstein and Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) last month, Sunstein revealed that the administration’s independent agencies had refused to participate in the effort to identify job-smothering regulations despite his urging. At the time of the May 18th deadline for preliminary plans, only one independent agency had submitted a regulatory review, and that review by the National Labor Relations Board amounted to a one page document.

Watch Scalise’s revealing exchange with Sunstein HERE


On January 18, 2011, President Obama signed Executive Order 13563 on Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review. The order states under the General Principles of Regulation: “Our regulatory system must protect public health, welfare, safety, and our environment while promoting economic growth, innovation, competitiveness, and job creation.” The executive order required federal agencies to review existing regulations and submit preliminary plans by May 18. While independent agencies were not technically required to comply with the order, Sunstein had encouraged their participation. The Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations has held a series of hearings to reduce regulatory burdens on job creators, including last week’s examination of “The Views of the Independent Agencies on Regulatory Reform.”

The Energy and Commerce Committee has been at the forefront of efforts to promote job creation, with a focus on expanding American-made energy and promoting a balanced regulatory approach that does not harm job creators. Aggressive oversight of burdensome regulations is a critical component of the Republican Plan for America’s Job Creators.

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