Providing for Consideration of H.R. 527, Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act of 2015, and Providing for Consideration of H.R. 50, Unfunded Mandates Information and Transparency…by Representative Jared Polis
Posted on 2015-02-04
POLIS. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentlewoman, Dr. Foxx, for
yielding me the customary 30 minutes, and I yield myself such time as I
I also express through you my wishes for her recovery, and I also appreciate her patriotism in doing her duty to God and country here today despite her respiratory duress. I hope that goes [[Page H768]] noted, that she is doing a great job representing her party on this bill.
Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to the rule and the underlying bills, the Unfunded Mandates Information and Transparency Act and the Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act.
The titles of these bills, while lengthy, seem to suggest that somehow these efforts are designed to increase transparency or help small business. Their actual impact is quite frankly the opposite.
By allowing rules to be written behind closed doors by big businesses and effectively preventing Federal agencies from promoting the national interests as they are supposed to and adding additional bureaucratic red tape and paperwork, these bills represent an assault on the health and safety of our Nation's families and threaten to drown our government in mountains and mountains of unnecessary paperwork.
I think that the release of the President's budget this week shows a contrast between the priorities of both parties' agendas. The President's budget focused on Main Street, offering new ideas for how we can meet the infrastructure needs of our country and reform our corporate tax system to make American businesses more competitive.
Unfortunately, what we continue to see here in this body from the Republicans is a ``Groundhog Day'' scenario where every day, every week--it is like the movie--we are talking about the same thing over and over again.
We have acted on repealing the Affordable Care Act 56 times in this body. Here, we are back with another set of bills that echo other bills again and again and again.
Now, I understand why many people want to do this once and go through it. People ran on repealing ObamaCare, and people ran on passing these bills. Once they are done, we will see what the other body does.
But to keep coming back, rather than dealing with the critical national priorities, I think simply shows a detachment from reality. That is one of the reasons the public holds this body in such low regard.
The bill that we considered 2 weeks ago added 65 new analytical requirements to the process of rulemaking--more red tape, more hurdles. I think what we are seeing here today is maybe that is not enough red tape. We are now looking at bills that allow big business to weigh in before the public, creating even more hurdles before regulations become public and are implemented.
H.R. 50 would effectively require agencies to consult with the private sector before the public is even made aware of the bill, let alone engaged in the rulemaking. This blocks transparency and handicaps public input.
I agree we want to make sure that business has the opportunity to weigh in, but we want to make sure that every stakeholder in a rulemaking process has the opportunity to weigh in equally.
In my State of Colorado, I would be concerned about the erosion of our protection of our great natural areas like Rocky Mountain National Park which is a protected site. We celebrated its 100th anniversary as a national park just last week.
In those 100 years, the Rocky Mountains have been thriving. If you visit the park today, you can find streams, elk, bighorn sheep, and fields of wildflowers; but if we hadn't designated the park a national treasure and created a comprehensive management plan for its protection, we might very well have lost not only something that relates to our national pride and is beautiful but, frankly, is the economic driver in Estes Park and Grand County for much of the economic activity in and around the National Park.
H.R. 50 would threaten the ability of the National Park Service to create the kind of management plan that the economy has thrived under in my home State of Colorado and in my district. It would essentially create a veto power for legislators and interests that don't believe in the protection of public lands or are willing to threaten the health of our families for enhancement of their bottom line. There is always going to be somebody that objects.
Again, we have a thriving tourism economy relating to Rocky Mountain National Park, but I am sure there is some company somewhere that would have some interest that is countervailing to the interests of job creation in our community, and that is why we need to have a transparent and accessible process of listening to stakeholders in as expeditious a way as possible.
We need a system that allows the Fort Collins native who hikes through the Rockies every weekend or the New Yorker who visits the snowcapped mountains every spring the ability to participate in protecting those natural resources and the protection of our public health.
We need to listen to the small businesses, the hospitality sector, and the restaurants and lodges that serve our tourism communities, but by allowing an unfair advantage to out-of-State corporate interests, we threaten the very principle that makes us American, the ability to participate in our decisions of government at the level closest to where we are affected.
H.R. 50 is a dangerous precedent for policy. It allows additional red tape to be thrown at government agencies, representing unnecessary delays and costs that prevent us from creating jobs and growing our economy.
We need to move forward with a middle class agenda for our country rather than continuing to live in this Groundhog Day scenario of repetitious bills that don't discuss how to grow our economy or grow the middle class.
Yesterday, this body attempted to repeal the Affordable Care Act for the 56th time. Today, the Republicans are making two attempts at what I consider to be a very similar thing, damage the regulatory process at all costs, which we already did and we are doing again.
They want to see additional red tape and bureaucracy added--whether it is clean air, whether it is clean water, whether it is consumers, whether it is protecting our children--regardless of the particular area with which we operate.
Instead of having a cumulative look at regulations, we should have a look at cumulative impacts of all the legislation that has been brought before this body and how that impacts small businesses and regulations.
Earlier this year, the House passed the Regulatory Accountability Act. That bill alone added 65 new checkpoints to the regulatory process. This bill would prevent transparency and allow big business to weigh in on regulations--before small businesses, before consumers, before other stakeholders--and add an additional tier and red tape to the regulatory process.
We need to move forward with improving our regulatory structure. I don't think there is any disagreement about that. Some of that can be done through executive action and some in a collaborative, bipartisan way to streamline the regulatory process to reduce hurdles for small businesses while meeting the goals of protecting the American public. Unfortunately, these bills do neither of those.
I encourage my colleagues to oppose the rule and the underlying bills.