Witnesses Detail Consequences of Administration’s Regulatory Approach
WASHINGTON, D.C., December 10, 2015
The Subcommittee on Workforce Protections, chaired by Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI), held a hearing this week to explore how the Obama administration’s unprecedented onslaught of regulations is affecting American workers and job creators.
“Federal policies play an important role in ensuring safe and healthy workplaces and protecting the basic rights of hardworking men and women,” Chairman Walberg stated during opening remarks. “Unfortunately, more often than not, what we’ve seen from this administration is an overly punitive and unnecessarily burdensome approach … [The] current regulatory onslaught is making life harder for working families and small business owners, not better.”
Sam Batkins, a regulatory policy expert for the American Action Forum, noted that since 2008, regulators have added about $100 billion in annual regulatory costs. He explained that these costs affect jobs, consumers, and the broader economy and have led to declines in employment. Beyond the economic impact of recent regulations, Batkins discussed the “human component behind the cost of losing one’s job,” noting the importance of considering the “emotional toll of employment disruptions.”
Small business owner Ralph Beebe, whose engineering company specializes primarily in troop support equipment, described the “indirect costs of excessive regulation” he has encountered, particularly in the past four years. He explained, “We have seen first-hand the detrimental effects of ever-changing and excessive regulations, especially as a small business with limited resources.”
Noting the “current state of government regulation has become a confusing and unpredictable challenge for the vast majority of small business owners,” Beebe added, the administration’s “current pace of excessive regulation” will force more and more small businesses to divert resources or “simply decide that the burden is too great and get away from the overregulation by dissolving the business.”
Focusing specifically on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) regulatory approach, Brad Hammock, a former attorney at the Department of Labor’s Office of the Solicitor, raised concerns about regulatory initiatives that “have questionable benefits for employees” and “place significant burdens on businesses.” While recognizing the role OSHA plays in protecting the safety and health of employees, he concluded, “All of these burdens placed on employers may actually take resources away from workplace safety and health.”
Chairman Walberg, expressing similar views, explained, “The question isn’t whether there should be rules of the road for workers and employers to follow … The question is how we ensure those rules are implemented fairly, responsibly, and in a way that promotes the best interests of both workers and their employers.”
To learn more about the hearing, or to watch an archived webcast, visit www.republicans-edlabor.house.gov/hearings.
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