If You Ever Doubted That Free Speech Is In Danger

The Washington Times posted an article today about a request made to Federal Communications Commission chairman Ajit Pai by Senate Democrats to investigate Sinclair Broadcasting Group for “news distortion.” Yup. Right after they investigate CBS, NBC, ABC, and The New York Times for ‘news distortion.’ The request was denied.

The article reports:

“Thank you for your letter requesting that the Commission investigate a broadcaster based on the content of its news coverage and promotion of that coverage,” said Mr. Pai in his letter. “In light of my commitment to protecting the First Amendment and freedom of the press, I must respectfully decline.”

His reply was dated April 12, the day after the request from 11 Senate Democrats and Sen. Bernie Sanders, Vermont Independent, who cited Sinclair’s proposed $3.9 billion acquisition of Tribune Media Company.

 “We are concerned that if the Sinclair-Tribune merger continues without a thorough review of these new facts, Sinclair’s practices of news distortion will proliferate to even more local stations, which Americans rely upon every day for fair and impartial news,” said the Senate letter.

Signers, including Sens. Maria Cantwell of Washington and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, said they were “alarmed” by Sinclair’s local anchors being required to read a promotional message last month about “biased and false news.”

The promo touted the stations’ commitment to balanced journalism and warned that “some members of the media use their platforms to push their own personal bias and agenda to control exactly what people think.”

 In their letter, the senators said that such “must-run dictates from Sinclair harm the freedom of the press guaranteed in the First Amendment by turning local journalists into mouthpieces for a corporate and political agenda.”

Mr. Pai responded that the FCC lacks the authority to yank broadcast licenses “based on the content of a particular newscast.”

Up until about 1991, when Rush Limbaugh arrived on the national scene, the political left had a monopoly on news–the networks and the major newspapers. Their monopoly has been slowly slipping away from them since then. Needless to say, the mainstream media does not like the competition. They have been trying to put Fox News out of business since it began by name calling and boycotting sponsors. This request is one of many examples of the need for the alternative media. It is also an example of the attack on free speech (further illustrated by what is happening on some of our college campuses).

Curiouser and Curiouser

No, this isn’t about memos or Russians. This is about the false alarm in Hawaii that must have been extremely frightening to the residents and tourists.

John Hinderaker posted an article at Power Line yesterday about the investigation into the incident.

The article reports:

The employee who sent the false missile alert in Hawaii, causing widespread panic and confusion, is refusing to cooperate with the investigation, a federal official said Thursday.

Lisa Fowlkes, public safety bureau chief for Federal Communications Commission (FCC), told senators in a hearing that she was generally pleased with the cooperation from officials in Hawaii, but that “one key employee, the person who transmitted the false alert, is refusing to cooperate.”

The article goes on:

But Clairmont also suggested that the incident could be more than just a case of someone pressing the wrong button, telling the Star-Advertiser that “it’s not as easy saying it was one person doing this.”

A total of four people were on duty that Saturday morning, he said, and the employee who sent the alert is both a 10-year veteran of the agency and “very well-trained and seasoned.”

One really wonders what went on here. A person I know who was in Hawaii at the time said that she thought it was odd that the civil defense sirens did not go off when the alert came over her cell phone.

Stay tuned. If the results of this investigation are made public, they may be very interesting.

The article at Power Line concludes:

The offending employee has not been identified. Here is a wild guess: the employee who “pushed the wrong button” is a fanatical anti-Trump Democrat who believed that causing hysteria over a presumed North Korean missile attack would somehow make the president look bad. If that guess is incorrect, maybe the anonymous employee should start cooperating with the investigation.

Is there a better explanation?

Restoring The Free Market To The Internet

In 2015, rules were put in place to prevent the free market from working in the Internet. Under these rules, Internet service providers, such as AT&T, Verizon and Comcast as well as smaller Internet service providers, were prohibited from blocking, slowing access to or charging more (priority pricing) for fast delivery of content above some specified threshold of high bandwidth usage.

An article in Frontpage Magazine posted today explains how the repeal of those rules will affect the Internet:

High-speed delivery of Internet services will no longer be heavily regulated on par with a common carrier utility monopoly service. However, the Internet service providers will have to disclose to the FCC changes to their access policies, which can consider any alleged abuses on a case by case basis. The Federal Trade Commission, which shares antitrust enforcement responsibility with the Department of Justice, will be tasked to take action against any anti-competitive behavior.

We are pretty much returning to what the Internet was before 2015. It needs to be considered in discussing this change that the Apple iphone could not have been released under the net neutrality rules–the original monopoly given to one service provider (which gave Apple a chance to work out the bugs) would have been illegal.

The article further explains:

The left would have us believe that the battle over “net neutrality” is between greedy, monopolistic, multibillion dollar Internet service companies and John Q. Public. This is the left’s typical class warfare rhetoric, helped along ironically by multibillion dollar content providers such as Netflix, Google and Facebook that hide behind slogans such as “net neutrality” and “open and free Internet” to obscure their own economic self-interest. Companies the size of Netflix, Google, Facebook, and the new Disney company that may emerge if its purchase of content assets from 21st Century Fox is approved by antitrust officials do not need FCC utility-style regulatory protection from Internet service providers. The FCC should not have placed itself in the position of picking industry sector winners and losers or coming down on the side of content providers, some of whom such as Facebook and Google have substantial market power of their own that allows them to censor content they believe is too controversial.

Moreover, “net neutrality” may be a nice slogan, but it does not reflect the reality of Internet usage. To understand why this is so requires a brief technology discussion.

Follow the link to the article to read the technical discussion–it is way over my head. Meanwhile, the political left never met a  government regulation it didn’t love!

The article concludes:

The economics of supply and demand should be permitted to play out under free market conditions. Internet service providers, just like the large content providers, are not monopoly utilities that require utility-style regulation. That said, there will need to be antitrust enforcement by the Federal Trade Commission to prevent anti-competitive abuses, such as an Internet service providers favoring their own affiliated content providers in terms of quality of service, ease of customer access, or discriminatory pricing. The FCC’s repeal of the overly burdensome “net neutrality” rules in no way undermines the ability of the FCC or the Federal Trade Commission to step in and address any abuses that may arise.

The left detests the free market, whether in the context of the Internet or virtually any other segment of the economy. Government knows best, leftists believe. Fortunately, elections have consequences and President Trump put in place at the FCC someone who understands the benefits of the free market. Under Chairman Ajit Pai’s leadership, the FCC removed the dead weight of intrusive regulation on Internet innovation and investment in infrastructure. It also restored the market freedom under which the Internet has thrived.

When Political Discourse Goes Insane

Yesterday The Daily Caller posted an article about the move to end net neutrality. The first thing to understand is that net neutrality is not what it sounds like it should be. There are valid arguments to be made both for and against net neutrality. That debate would be welcome and informative–the current debate is useless.

The article reports:

Net neutrality activists left signs at Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai’s house Saturday, telling his children that their father was an “evil” man who “murdered” democracy.

The cardboard signs list Pai’s children by name, telling them that “you don’t have to be evil.” Pai’s leadership of the FCC has been fraught with criticism due to his rejection of net neutrality policies advocated by former President Barack Obama’s administration. The FCC announced last week that it plans to role back net neutrality rules, triggering protests outside the Pai family’s home for the second time this year.

Private homes need to be off limits for protests. The man’s children do not need to be afraid because their father is making a change to Internet regulations.

The article explains part of the argument to end the regulation:

Obama-era neutrality rules would have legally prevented internet service providers (ISPs) such as Comcast from discriminating against certain types of traffic. These regulations would effectively prevent ISPs from providing faster internet to higher-paying customers.

For an extended period of time, the FCC hosted an online forum for the public to submit comments and thoughts on net neutrality rules. While the whole process was an attempt at bureaucratic democracy, it ended up as sort of a mess due to the appearance of hundreds of thousands of fake posts from all parts of the world, including so many duplicates, and thus of highly unlikely authenticity. 

When in doubt, the free market is always the better idea.

Common Sense From The Wall Street Journal

The Daily Caller is reporting today that The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board supports the repeal of the “net neutrality” rules that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) put into effect in 2015. I am the first person to admit that I do not understand the concept of net neutrality, but generally anything that interferes with the free market is not a good idea.

The article reports the correct way to deal with this issue:

The National Review also endorsed Pai’s (Ajit Pai, Chairman of the FCC) decision, specifically saying that Congress, not an independent federal agency, should consider rules through legislation to help solve any potential issues.

“If Congress wants net neutrality, then Congress can pass a law and let the FCC enforce it. It isn’t up to the FCC to create sweeping new policy on its own,” the editorial board for the National Review wrote Wednesday. “That kind of lawlessness ran rampant in the Obama administration, and the Trump administration is undertaking important work in undoing it, from the FCC to the EPA.”

We need to get to the point where Congress (elected by the people) makes the laws. Unelected officials should not be making laws.

The Government Just Doesn’t Handle Money Well

Last Thursday The Washington Times posted an article about the ‘Obamaphone’ program started under President Obama. The purpose of the program was to provide low-income Americans with cell phones that they could use in case of emergency.  Unfortunately, a new report from the Government Accountability Office reveals that the program is rife with fraud.

The article reports:

The report, requested by Sen. Claire McCaskill, Missouri Democrat, also says the program has stashed some $9 billion in assets in private bank accounts rather than with the federal treasury, further increasing risks and depriving taxpayers of the full benefit of that money.

 “A complete lack of oversight is causing this program to fail the American taxpayer — everything that could go wrong is going wrong,” said Mrs. McCaskill, ranking Democrat on the Senate’s chief oversight committee and who is a former state auditor in Missouri.

“We’re currently letting phone companies cash a government check every month with little more than the honor system to hold them accountable, and that simply can’t continue,” she said.

The program, run by the Federal Communications Commission, predates President Obama, but it gained attention during his administration when recipients began to associate the free phone with other benefits he doled out to the poor.

The article lists some of the problems with the ‘Obamaphone’ program:

Some 10.6 million people have an Obamaphone, but 36 percent of them may not qualify, investigators said after sampling the population and finding a huge chunk of people couldn’t prove they were eligible.

More than 5,500 people were found to be enrolled for two phones, while the program was paying for nearly 6,400 phones for persons the government has listed as having died.

Investigators also submitted fraudulent applications to see what would happen, and 12 of the 19 phone carriers they applied to approved a phone.

The article concludes:

The FCC had promised to make changes, but the new report says those have fallen short.

GAO investigators questioned whether the program is even needed anymore. The price of phones and service on many plans have dropped dramatically, making them affordable for nearly everyone, the GAO says. Investigators also found that without the free government phone, many recipients would gladly pay for the services on their own anyway.

In its official response, the FCC called the GAO’s report “thoughtful” and promised to try to clean up the program. It said it’s already taken steps to improve the situation.

Milton Friedman said it best, “If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in 5 years there’d be a shortage of sand.”

More Money Being Taken From Those Who Earned It And Given To Those Who Did Not

NBC News is reporting today the the Federal Communications Commission voted Thursday to expand a telephone subsidy for low-income Americans to include Internet access. Originally Republicans had reached a deal with one of the Democratic members of the Commission to cap the cost of the program, but evidently she changed her vote due to pressure from other Democrats.

The article reports:

Republicans have pushed for a budget cap for the $1.5 billion annual program, called Lifeline, which has helped lower-income Americans get access to telecommunications technologies since 1985. There is currently no cap.

FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai, a Republican, said Democratic Commissioner Mignon Clyburn had signed onto a deal with Republicans earlier in the day after intensive negotiations, only to change her decision.

Pai’s aide, Matthew Berry, said Wheeler had “bullied” fellow Democrat Clyburn into withdrawing from a “moderate, bipartisan deal” that would also have set a minimum standard on broadband speeds.

I do not have a problem with providing cell phones to low-income people (within reason), although that is not the government’s job. We need to remember that the government has no money of its own–the only money the government has it takes from working Americans. If low-income people do not have land lines, they need cell phones for emergencies. However, I need someone to explain to me exactly when internet access became a right. Most Americans pay for internet access, and for many, that payment represents a significant part of their budget. Why are some Americans not only forced to pay for their own internet but also forced to subsidize someone else’s internet? It is also telling that the Democrats on the FCC were unwilling to put a budget cap on the program. That is the kind of thinking that creates the massive federal debt that has become part of America.

The Money Behind ‘Net Neutrality’

The Washington Examiner posted a story today about the funding behind the support for net neutrality. Net neutrality is the politically correct expression used to describe the federal government’s takeover of the internet.

The article reports:

“The Ford Foundation, which claims to be the second-largest private foundation in the U.S., and Open Society Foundations, founded by far-left billionaire George Soros, have given more than $196 million to pro-net neutrality groups between 2000 and 2013,” said the report, authored by Media Research Center’s Joseph Rossell, and provided to Secrets.

“These left-wing groups not only impacted the public debate and funded top liberal think tanks from the Center for American Progress to Free Press. They also have direct ties to the White House and regulatory agencies. At least five individuals from these groups have ascended to key positions at the White House and FCC,” said the report which included funding details to pro-net neutrality advocates.

This is a government takeover of the internet. It is also unconstitutional–Congress has not passed this law–it was passed by the Federal Communications Commission.

Yesterday The Examiner posted a story about the lack of cooperation between the FCC and Congress regarding this law.

The Examiner reported:

On the eve of the highly controversial attempt by Barack Obama and the Democrats to seize the Internet, FCC Chair Tom Wheeler flat-out refused to appear before Congress for questioning. Wheeler has also refused to provide information to Congress about the government takeover, demanding that Congress approve the proposal for the federal government to seize the Internet — deceptively called “Internet neutrality” — without knowing a thing about what they are approving.

…Supporters of so called net neutrality have a hidden agenda they wish to implement. Under the new rules the FCC would have the power to intrude upon and regulate free speech and freedom of the press. Collectivists have long decried the power of the people when the Internet is used to jettison their dependence on government-approved “news,” such as that which is provided by CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, and MSNBC. Government elitists fear the truth in the hands of the people, and the Internet has allowed the people to do their own independent research and news gathering. Hillary Clinton, for example, has complained about having “too many news sources.” She further stated that the “net neutrality” regulations would give collectivists a “foot in the door” in the gradual move to totally control the Internet. Hillary once stated in 1998 that Internet news “needs a rethink.”

Regardless of the motives and long-term goals of the FCC, it has become obvious in recent years that more federal regulation is never a good thing. The only good news in this is that net neutrality will be tied up in the courts for years.

Less Government Is Always Better Than More Government

Investors.com posted an article yesterday about the move to adopt ‘net neutrality.’

The article reports:

The Federal Communications Commission, which wants to regulate the Internet heavily to make it more “open,” is refusing to let the public see its proposed rules before the commissioners vote on them in two weeks.

Perhaps it’s because, while talking publicly in reassuring tones about how the FCC merely wants to secure “net neutrality,” it’s planning to do much, much more.

That, at least, is what Ajit Pai, one of the FCC’s two Republican commissioners, is claiming.

He says FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has a “secret plan to regulate the Internet” that “opens the door to billions of dollars in new taxes” on broadband services.

“I have studied the 332-page plan in detail, and it is worse than I imagined,” he said, adding that “the public has a right to know what its government is doing, particularly when it comes to something as important as Internet regulation.”

Whether you support the move to regulate the internet or not, it is telling that the FCC is unwilling to release the details of what they plan to do in advance. This sounds like ObamaCare all over again–they have to pass the bill so that we can find out what is in it.

 

Net Neutrality

I haven’t written much about net neutrality because I haven’t understood it, but last night Hugh Hewitt explained it in a way that made sense (Hugh Hewitt, Salem Radio, 6-9 pm on the east coast).

The bottom line is simple–because the government has not yet regulated the internet, it has been free to grow and prosper. If the government is successful in its effort to treat the internet as simply another utility, we will all suffer–higher prices, censorship, crony capitalism, etc.

The Wall Street Journal posted an article yesterday explaining what is going on:

Last week Washington abandoned open innovation when the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission yielded to President Obama ’s demands and moved to regulate the freewheeling Internet under the same laws that applied to the Ma Bell monopoly. Unless these reactionary regulations are stopped, they spell the end of the permissionless innovation that built today’s Internet.

Until now, anyone could launch new websites, apps and mobile devices without having to lobby a regulator for permission. That was thanks to a Clinton-era bipartisan consensus that the Internet shouldn’t be treated as a public utility. Congress and the White House under both parties kept the FCC from applying the hoary regulations that micromanaged the phone system, which would have frozen innovation online.

Last week’s announcement from FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler rejects 20 years of open innovation by submitting the Internet to Title II of the Communications Act of 1934. Once Mr. Wheeler and the commission’s Democratic majority vote this month to apply Title II, the regulations will give them staggering control. Any Internet “charges” and “practices” that the bureaucrats find “unjust or unreasonable is declared to be unlawful.”

So what would ‘net neutrality’ mean to you and me? It could mean regulators micromanaging Google searches, regulating blog content (I take that one personally), the government overseeing Facebook, etc. Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?

There is a way to stop this. As soon as the Republicans pass a budget, they can begin working on appropriations. They have the power to block the Net Neutrality power grab in the appropriations process. If you want to be part of stopping this nightmare, I suggest you call your Representative and Senator and recommend a speedy passage of the budget and appropriations.

Big Brother Has Plans To Get Bigger

On February 10, The Wall Street Journal posted an article by Ajit Pai about a proposed Federal Communications Commission (FCC) initiative.

The article reports:

Last May the FCC proposed an initiative to thrust the federal government into newsrooms across the country. With its “Multi-Market Study of Critical Information Needs,” or CIN, the agency plans to send researchers to grill reporters, editors and station owners about how they decide which stories to run. A field test in Columbia, S.C., is scheduled to begin this spring.

The purpose of the CIN, according to the FCC, is to ferret out information from television and radio broadcasters about “the process by which stories are selected” and how often stations cover “critical information needs,” along with “perceived station bias” and “perceived responsiveness to underserved populations.”

The FCC has a list of questions for station managers, news directors, journalists, television anchors and on-air reporters. Those questions deal with the ‘news philosophy’ of the station and how the station ensures that the community gets crucial information. Answering the questions is supposedly voluntary, but the FCC is in charge of renewing the station’s license every eight years, so it is in the station’s best interest to answer the questions.

The article also reports:

The FCC says the study is merely an objective fact-finding mission. The results will inform a report that the FCC must submit to Congress every three years on eliminating barriers to entry for entrepreneurs and small businesses in the communications industry.

This claim is peculiar. How can the news judgments made by editors and station managers impede small businesses from entering the broadcast industry? And why does the CIN study include newspapers when the FCC has no authority to regulate print media?

The bottom line here is that this is a really bad idea. It is an interference with the free press, which used to be considered unconstitutional.

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I Have Totally Mixed Emotions On This

On Wednesday, the Daily Caller posted an article detailing some close ties between vice presidential debate moderator Martha Raddatz and President Obama. Among other things, President Obama was a guest at the moderator’s wedding in 1991. The article reports that Obama and groom Julius Genachowski, whom Obama would later tap to head the Federal Communications Commission, were Harvard Law School classmates at the time and members of the Harvard Law Review.

The article at the Daily Caller goes on to detail a rather close relationship between President Obama and Mr. Genachowski which has continued over the years.

The article reports:

Genachowski’s friendship with Obama would continue through the campaign trail in 2008 and into the White House: He aggressively fundraised for Obama in 2008 as a campaign bundler, and served on the presidential transition team before winning his appointment to chair the FCC.

It should be mentioned that Martha Raddatz and Julius Genachowski divorced and are now married to other people.

I do find this a little unsettling. I think ABC could have found a moderator without a direct connection to the President, but I am willing to watch the debate and hope that Ms. Raddatz is fair and objective.

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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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