A Different Solution To America’s Spending Problem

The national debt has doubled since 2007.  It is now approximately $19,000,000,000,000. Congress has not been successful at stopping spending, and the economy is struggling along with the burden of debt and over-regulation. One Congressman has a proposal that will deal with at least part of the problem.

Yesterday PJ Media posted an article about a proposal by Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah).

The article reports:

Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.), Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) and Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.) joined Lee to formally introduce the Article I Regulatory Budget Reform Act, which would require Congress to cast a vote on the “total regulatory burden” federal agencies are able to enforce on the private sector each fiscal year.

“Federal regulations come with a cost, albeit a hidden one. The American people can look up in the federal budget and see a monetary cost for the IRS and the EPA. They should also be able to look up what the regulatory cost for these agencies are as well. Beyond making the cost of federal regulation transparent, a regulatory budget will help restore accountability for the cost of regulation onto the people’s elected representatives,” Hensarling said at Hillsdale College’s Kirby Center in Washington.

“With a regulatory budget, it would become so much more difficult for members of Congress to simply pass the buck and blame the faceless, nameless bureaucrats for the cost of regulations on the American people’s families and their businesses,” he added.

Under the U.S. Constitution, Congress is charged with making laws. They are supposed to be held accountable for the laws they pass. Unfortunately, we have wandered into a system where unelected bureaucrats are making our laws, and we can’t vote them out of office.

The article adds:

Lee argued that most of the major bills Congress has passed only “establish aspirational guidelines,” which gives the executive branch the power to determine the specifics. He said Congress should establish “regulatory-cost limits” for federal agencies to follow.

“For the rule-writing bureaucrats, these open-ended laws are gifts that keep on giving. For instance, in the years since Congress first passed the Clean Air Act in 1977, federal bureaucrats have used the law to enact more than 13,500 pages of regulations – roughly 30 pages for every page of legislative text,” Lee said.

“But for the American people, this kind of government without consent is a violation of the social compact at the heart of our republic and exactly why they no longer trust the federal government,” he added.

The U.S. Constitution is an amazing document. The government it established works. Unfortunately we have altered that government to the point where it barely works and is not trusted by the American people. We need serious reform in Washington. Senator Lee’s proposal might be a good place to start.

I Had To Go To Pravda To Get This Story

I am not kidding. I found the link to this information at Pravda (Russian for ‘truth”). I wonder why they are posting the story, considering that President Obama is their friend, but on the other hand, the current Russian government is not known for its pro-American feelings. How would the Russians feel about President Joe Biden? That is just a scary thought.

Anyway, the Tea Party Tribune (who knew they had a publication?) posted a memo by nine state Attorneys General listing the ways the Obama Administration has aggressively used administrative agencies to implement policy objectives that cannot gain congressional approval and are outside of the law.

This is the list of violations:

  • FCC: Regulation of the Internet in the face of a court order from Circuit Court of Appeals for Washington D.C. stating that the FCC does not have the power to regulate the Internet
  • PPACA: Individual Mandate; To be heard by Supreme Court of the United States in March
  • EPA 1: GHG lawsuit; EPA’s own Inspector General reported last September that EPA failed to comply with its own data standards; Heard in Circuit Court of Appeals for Washington D.C. in February
  • OSM: Attempting to impose regulatory requirements on the 19 states with authority for exclusive regulation of their coalmines for the first time in more than 30 years
  • NLRB: Boeing; Engaged in unprecedented behavior as described by former Chairmen under both Presidents Bush (43) and Clinton; behavior is best exemplified in South Carolina where the Board tried to muzzle over 80 percent of state voters who supported a secret ballot amendment to the South Carolina Constitution and attempted unsuccessfully to tell an employer in the state where they can and cannot base manufacturing facilities
  • EPA: Florida Water; EPA’s numeric nutrient criteria pre-empted Florida standards; U.S. District Judge upheld the state’s site-specific alternative criteria for streams and rivers
  • EPA: Texas Air; TX filed lawsuit challenging Cross-State Air Pollution Rules; application rule to TX was particularly dubious because state was included in the regulation at the last minute and without an opportunity to respond to the proposed regulation; regulation was based on a dubious claim that air pollution from TX affected a single air-quality monitor in Granite City, Illinois more than 500 miles and three states away from Texas
  • EPA: Oklahoma Air; EPA illegally usurped Oklahoma’s authority in the Clean Air Act to determine the state’s own plan for addressing sources of emissions that affect visibility, by imposing a federal implementation plan; Federal plan goes beyond the authority granted to the EPA in the Clean Air Act and will result in $2 billion in cost to install technology needed to complete the EPA plan, and a permanent increase of 15-20 percent in the cost of electricity; Obama Administration is fighting Oklahoma’s appeal, which was filed in the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals
  • HHS: Religious Liberty; HHS mandated religious entities such as Catholic, Baptist and Jewish schools and churches be required to provided medical services they find unconscionable to their employees; President attempted to compromise with an “accommodation” in name only that required insurance companies to provide the services for free to the religious organization employees; Accommodation made matters worse as many religious-base hospitals and schools are self-insurers; Seven Attorneys General filed suit to protect religious liberty and oppose the HHS mandate
  • DOJ: South Carolina & Voting Rights Act: Rejecting voter ID statutes that are similar to those already approved by the Supreme Court of the United States; DOJ ignored section 8 of the Voting Rights Act which calls for protections against voter fraud, and used section 5 to administratively block measures to protect the integrity of elections passed by state legislatures in preclearance states including South Carolina; South Carolina voter ID law merely requires a voter to show photo identification in order to vote or to complete an affidavit at the pain of perjury if the voter does not have a photo ID
  • DOJ: Arizona & Voting Rights Act: Rejecting voter ID statutes that are similar to those already approved by the Supreme Court of the United States
  • DOJ: Arizona Immigration; In violation of 10th Amendment, federal government to sue to prevent AZ from using reasonable measures to discourage illegal immigration within Arizona’s borders; Affects Arizona because state has a large percentage, compared to other states, of illegal immigrants and need to be able to act to reduce the number
  • DOJ: Alabama Immigration; The DOJ challenged Alabama’s immigration reform laws after parts were “green lighted” by a federal judge; DOJ appealed the ruling; parts of the AL case have been struck down in various federal courts; specific provisions of the law include collection of the immigration status of public school students, businesses must use E-Verify, prohibition of illegal immigrants receiving public benefits; the provision requiring immigrants to always carry alien registration cards; allowance of lawsuits by state citizens who do not believe public officials are enforcing the law
  • DOJ: South Carolina Immigration; DOJ challenged South Carolina’s immigration reform laws that are very similar to the AZ which is scheduled to appear before the United States Supreme Court; SC case will be heard by the 4th Circuit soon there after as the 4th Circuit granted SC motion to extend the filing time until after the US Supreme Court issues an Opinion in AZ
  • Congressional: “Recess” appointments to NLRB (three) and CFPB (one)
  • EEOC: Hosanna Tabor (MI); Sought to reinstate a minister who was discharged for her disagreement with the religious doctrine of the church
  • DOE: Yucca Mountain; In 2009, Administration arbitrarily broke federal law and derailed the most studied energy project in American history when DOE announced intent to withdraw 8,000 page Yucca Mountain licensing application with prejudice; SC and Washington State filed suit, as a result, contesting the unconstitutional action; American people have paid more than $31 billion (including interest) through percentages of electric rate fees towards the project and taxpayers have footed an addition $200 million in legal feeds and over $2 billion in judgments against the DOE for breaking contracts associated with Yucca Mountain
    1. DOI: Glendale Casino (AZ); Glendale is a violation because the Federal Government is forcing a family-oriented town, Glendale, to become another Las Vegas against its will.  Essentially, the Federal Government has granted ‘reservation status’ to a 54-acre plot in the same town, where the Tohono O’odham Nation plans to build a resort and casino.

My question is simple, “Where is the media on this?” Why did I have to go to Pravda to find the link? The current administration needs to be reminded legally in a big way what the U.S. Constitution says about the government’s power in America. If the media won’t do that, the people need to do it in November.

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Don’t Mess With Texas

In June 2011 I posted an article (rightwinggranny.com) about the Environmental Protection Agency’s war of Texas.

The article reported:

In January 2010, the EPA decided that the Texas air-permit program was invalid and every facility in the state operating under that permit would have to be re-permitted.  The argument was that Texas was measuring the pollution from the entire facility–the EPA wanted separate measurements from every area of the facility.  Obviously this will be more expensive with very questionable results.  The second aspect of the attack on Texas is the war on coal.  The Texas Public Policy Foundation submitted a report to Congress in March saying that the new EPA regulations will shut down 5700 MW of electrical generating capacity–about one-twelfth of peak demand.  The new regulations also make no allowance for increased energy demands in the State of Texas in the coming years.  The third attack on Texas energy is in the area of natural gas.

That article links to an article at Hot Air that details the entire attack.

Well, the attack has been turned back. Fox News is reporting today that “the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the agency to reconsider the Texas regulations and “limit its review” to ensuring that they meet the “minimal” Clean Air Act requirements that govern state implementation plans.”

 Fox News reports:
 
“If Texas’s regulations satisfy those basic requirements, the EPA must approve them,” the court said in its 22-page ruling this week.

The EPA rejected Texas’ rules on minor new-source review permits in September 2010, saying they didn’t meet Clean Air Act requirements. The Texas attorney general, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and businesses sued the EPA, challenging the ruling.

This is good news. The EPA under President Obama has consistently attacked America’s domestic sources of energy. They are not an elected body and have assumed too much power. It is good to see the court temper that power.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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About That “Pass The Bill” Statement

At times, facts are inconvenient things. They can easily get in the way of actually winning an argument (or an election). The election of 2012 is going to be, among other things, an indication of how many Americans are believing everything the Obama administration tells them and how many Americans are actually checking the facts. One place where the rhetoric and the facts are in total opposition is the most recent jobs bill put forth by President Obama.

First of all, the Republicans are not blocking the bill–the Republicans do not have enough votes in the Senate to stop anything without Democrat votes. Second of all, the House Republicans have passed a number of bills to help cut unemployment and those bills have not made it through the Senate.

GOP.gov has posted a list of bills passed in the House of Representatives that are aimed at job creation that have gone nowhere. I realize this is a really long list, but take a look:

The “Forgotten Fifteen”

1)  H.R. 872—Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act:  The bill would amend the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) to clarify that the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or a state may not require a permit under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act for the application of pesticides regulated under FIFRA.  By removing duplicative requirements, the bill would reduce overlapping and unnecessary regulation on pesticides that are already regulated, thereby reducing costs to both farmers and small business owners.

2)  H.R. 910—Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011:  H.R. 910 would prohibit the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases to address climate change under the Clean Air Act.   More specifically, the bill would prohibit the EPA from regulating: water vapor; carbon dioxide; methane; nitrous oxide; and any other substance subject to regulation, action or consideration under the Clean Air Act to address climate change.  The bill would prevent a needless increase in energy prices for American households and businesses.

3)  H.J.Res. 37—Disapproving the rule submitted by the Federal Communications Commission with respect to regulating the Internet and broadband industry practices:  The bill would prohibit the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) from implementing a net-neutrality rule which would prohibit Internet providers from slowing or blocking legal websites or Internet services because of concerns over bandwidth.  In May 2010, seventy-four House Democrats sent a letter to FCC Chairman Genachowski making the case that net-neutrality rules will “jeopardize jobs” and “should not be done without additional direction from Congress.”

4)  H.R. 1230—Restarting American Offshore Leasing Now Act: H.R. 1230 would require the Department of the Interior (DOI) to auction offshore oil and gas leases in the Central and Western Gulf of Mexico, as well as in an area off the coast of Virginia. The bill would help to reduce energy prices and promote job creation by expediting offshore oil and natural gas exploration in the Gulf of Mexico and the Virginia coast.

5)  H.R. 1229—Putting the Gulf of Mexico Back to Work Act:  H.R. 1229 would direct the Secretary of the Interior to require that any lessee operating under an approved exploration plan obtain a permit before drilling any well, and obtain a new permit before drilling any well of a design that is significantly different than the design for which an existing permit was issued. The bill would prohibit the Secretary from issuing a permit without ensuring that the proposed drilling operations meet all critical safety system requirements (including blowout prevention), and oil spill response and containment requirements. 

6) H.R. 1231—Reversing President Obama’s Offshore Moratorium Act:  H.R. 1231 would require that each five-year offshore oil and gas leasing program offer leasing in the areas with the most prospective oil and gas resources, and would establish a domestic oil and natural gas production goal.  The bill would essentially lift the President’s ban on new offshore drilling by requiring the Administration to move forward on American energy production in areas estimated to contain the most oil and natural gas resources.

7) H.R. 2021—The Jobs and Energy Permitting Act of 2011:  H.R. 2021 would eliminate needless permitting delays that have stalled important energy production opportunities off the coast of Alaska.  The bill would also eliminate the permitting back-and-forth that occurs between the EPA and its Environmental Appeals Board.  Rather than having exploration air permits repeatedly approved and rescinded by the agency and its review board, the EPA will be required to take final action – granting or denying a permit—within six months.

8) H.R. 2018—Clean Water Cooperative Federalism Act of 2011: H.R. 2018 would a restrict the EPA ability to issue a revised or new water quality standard for a pollutant whenever a state has adopted and EPA already has approved a water quality standard for that pollutant, unless the state concurs with the EPA Administrator’s determination that the revised or new standard is necessary to meet the requirements of the Clean Water Act.  The bill would prevent unilateral actions by the EPA that second-guess the decisions of the state regulatory agency.

9) H.R. 1315—Consumer Financial Protection & Soundness Improvement Act:  H.R. 1315 would improve consumer protection and provides greater economic stability by allowing the Financial Stability Oversight Council to vote to set aside any harmful federal regulation.

10) H.R. 1938— North American-Made Energy Security Act:  H.R. 1938 would direct the President, acting through the Secretary of Energy, to coordinate with all federal agencies responsible for an aspect of the President’s National Interest Determination and Presidential Permit decision regarding construction and operation of Keystone XL, to ensure that all necessary actions are taken on an expedited schedule.  The bill would promote job creation and energy security by ending the needless delay of the construction and operation of the Keystone XL pipeline.

11) H.R. 2587—Protecting Jobs From Government Interference Act:  H.R. 2587 would prohibit the National Labor Relations Board (NRLB) from ordering any employer to close, relocate, or transfer employment under any circumstance.

12) H.R. 2401—Transparency In Regulatory Analysis Of Impacts On The Nation:  H.R. 2401 would require analyses of the cumulative and incremental impacts of certain rules and actions of the Environmental EPA.  Specifically, the bill would require the President to establish the Committee for the Cumulative Analysis of Regulations that Impact Energy and Manufacturing.  The Committee would be charged with analyzing and reporting on the cumulative and incremental impacts of covered rules and actions of the EPA concerning air, waste, water, and climate change.  The bill would establish the interagency committee to evaluate the economic impacts of EPA regulations and delay the final dates for both the maximum achievable control technology (Utility MACT) standards and the cross-state air pollution rule (CSAPR) until the full impact has been studied. Both regulations would cost consumers and businesses $184 billion from 2011-2030 and would cause electrical prices to skyrocket.

13) H.R. 2681—Cement Sector Regulatory Relief Act: H.R. 2681 would provide a legislative stay of three EPA emissions standards that apply to cement manufacturing plants and are known as the “Cement MACT rules.”  The bill would also provide for the implementation of effective regulation that protects communities both environmentally and economically.

14) H.R. 2250—EPA Regulatory Relief Act:  H.R. 2250 would provide a legislative stay of four interrelated EPA rules, commonly referred to as the “Boiler MACT rules,” that govern emissions of mercury and other hazardous air pollutants from approximately 200,000 boilers and incinerators nationwide.  The bill would remove this excessive regulatory burden placed on employers by the EPA’s Boiler MACT rules, potentially costing companies $14 billion and 224,000 American jobs, and replace them with sensible, achievable rules that do not destroy jobs.

15) H.R. 2273—Coal Residuals Reuse and Management Act:  H.R. 2273 would utilize the framework and requirements of an existing federal regulatory program developed by the EPA under the Solid Waste Disposal Act (RCRA) as the basis for enforceable minimum federal standards for the regulation of a waste stream known as coal ash.  The bill would include enforceable federal standards, but would leave regulation and enforcement to the states.  The bill would also provide consistent, safe management of coal combustion residuals in a way that protects jobs and encourages recycling and beneficial use.

It seems to me that the Senate could have passed at least one of these bills. I am not convinced that it is the Republicans playing political games with the economy.

 

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