WASHINGTON, DC – The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy, chaired by Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL), today discussed the impacts of federal regulations on jobs and the economy. Members received detailed testimony from industry representatives and welcomed suggestions for legislative solutions.
Witnesses from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Manufacturers, National Federation of Independent Business, and American Farm Bureau Federation testified on the real-life consequences of these regulations on industry and American consumers. Members and witnesses agreed that regulations are necessary to protect the health and well being of Americans, but that unless carefully crafted, regulations can yield disastrous economic consequences.
“Regulations are a necessary part of a complex society. But an unbalanced regulatory process has led to an unprecedented increase in major, economically significant regulations, some of which are harming the economy and inhibiting job creation, and to erosion of the carefully calibrated constitutional system of checks and balances that is the foundation for our system of government,” said William Kovacs, Senior Vice President at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Witnesses expressed a need to restore clarity and balance to the regulatory process, explaining that the current regulatory environment has significantly hindered industry’s ability to create jobs. Of particular concern was the regulatory havoc caused by the onslaught of regulations recently proposed by President Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency.
Kirk Liddell, testifying on behalf of the National Association of Manufacturers, noted that job growth in manufacturing has slowed dramatically in the last few months. “Costs of pollution abatement are capital intensive. In a time of economic recovery where capital is extremely scarce, every dollar diverted from productive use creates additional pressure to reduce labor costs. When the prices of commodities and other manufacturing inputs are increasing, as they are today, even more pressure builds to squeeze labor costs,” said Liddell. “In this environment, it is clear that unnecessary or cost-ineffective regulation dampens economic growth and will continue to hold down job creation. For some firms, it will be the final straw that destroys the whole business.”
Chairman Shimkus welcomed witnesses’ suggestions and expressed the committee’s commitment to providing regulatory relief. “The problem for many of the people who send us here to find solutions is not the “˜green economy’ it’s the red-ink economy. Family debt, unemployment, collapsed home values, mortgages underwater -these are the real-life problems we are challenged to solve,” said Shimkus.