Wyo. Sen. Barrasso Slams Obama's End-Around Regs

Monday, 29 Aug 2011 11:39 AM

By Martin Gould and Ashley Martella

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Republicans are taking a major swing at the Obama administration’s use of government regulations to get policy introduced through the back door.

House Speaker John Boehner wrote to the president on Friday urging him to calculate the cost of the new rules, which he says have jumped by nearly 15 percent in the past year.

And in an exclusive interview with Newsmax.TV, Republican Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming says savings made through a review of old regulations will amount to only half of the cost of rules introduced in July and August alone.

“What the administration has recommended is looking back at old regulations,” Barrasso said. “But they’re coming out with new regulations — expensive regulations — faster than anything that they are cutting.”

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Boehner pointed out in his letter that the administration admits that there are 219 new regulations — each with annual costs of more than $100 million.

“That’s almost a 15 percent increase over last year, and appears to contradict public suggestions by the Administration this week that the regulatory burden on American job creators is being scaled back,” he wrote.

Boehner said he was “startled” to learn that the Environmental Protection Agency admitted that just one of the new rules will cost the economy more than $90 billion a year.

Last week, the administration said it was introducing a review aimed at culling old rules that, it said, would save $10 billion over five years. The GOP has jumped on that announcement to point out that the savings are being swallowed up by newly introduced regulations under the EPA, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, and Obama’s healthcare program.

Boehner said he wants the costs of all the new regulations set out by the time Congress returns next month.

In Barrasso’s interview with Newsmax.TV, the Wyoming senator called Obama’s streamlining more a plan for publicity than a plan for growth.

“The White House is not really serious about cutting red tape that continues to destroy American jobs,” he said.

“The new rules and regulations are throwing a heavy wet blanket on our economy,” said Barrasso, who sits on both the Energy and the Environmental committees in the Senate.

Barrasso mocked EPA administrator Lisa Jackson for saying during a February Energy and Commerce Subcommittee hearing that extra regulations create jobs because companies have to hire people to make sure they comply. “To me, that’s a drag on businesses,” he said.

“Every person that you’re hiring that is not producing but just so you can answer Washington is not really helping business. It’s not helping our country. It’s a drag on the economy.”

“Whether it is the healthcare law, whether it’s Dodd-Frank or the EPA, they take small sections of the law, and then they’ll come out with hundreds and hundreds of pages of regulations which then people have to comply with. And those are very expensive and they make it harder and more expensive to create private sector jobs.

Barrasso, who practiced as a doctor before joining the Senate in 2002, said the new healthcare law will be “bad for patients, bad for providers — the nurses and doctors who have to take care of those patients — and bad for taxpayers.

“What people are seeing is that the cost of their care and their insurance is going up faster since Obamacare has been passed than if the healthcare law had not been passed at all,” he said.

“I talk to hospital administrators [in] Wyoming as I’ve been traveling around . . . They’re complaining that they are having to spend money that they don’t have on consultants they don’t want to try to comply with regulations that they don’t think they need.

“With Washington’s one-size-fits-all approach comes to the rest of America, the rest of America doesn’t like it.”

Barrasso said the newly revealed government decision to deport only illegal aliens who have committed crimes since being in the United States shows that the Obama administration is refusing to obey the law of the land.

And he called the Dodd-Frank financial reform “massive government expansion.”

“That’s the approach of this administration. They really do believe that Washington knows best and that they need to be coming out with rules and regulations to protect America. I just think very differently about what role government should play in our lives than what this administration believes.”

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