Reining in Regulations

by Congressman Aaron Schock, 18th Congressional District

What could you have done with an extra $236.7 billion last year? If you’re a small business in Peoria, I’m sure you could have hired a new employee, expanded your business or given your workforce additional tools to help make your company more successful.

Instead, that astronomical figure is the cost of the regulatory burden on employers last year. But this costly red tape doesn’t have to persist, and it’s time for Congress and the president to finally act.

In 2011, the House did its part, passing the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act. I proudly championed this legislation in the last Congress, and I’m one of the first to sign on to support it again as we begin the 113th Congress. The REINS Act would ensure that all major regulations—those with an economic impact of $100 million or more—would first have to be approved by a vote of Congress before it could be enacted. While this legislation passed the House with bipartisan support, Senate Democrats refused to bring it to the floor for a vote.

From 2009 to 2011, more than 400 regulations were proposed by the current administration, which had an economic impact upwards of $100 million. To put it another way, if you stacked the paper on which the rules issued just last year were printed, it would stand nearly 13 feet high.

This is a startling statistic and a contributing factor as to why the economy remains sluggish. The REINS Act would curb the practice of bureaucratic approval of costly regulations by requiring congressional approval for all major rules. This would ensure Congress—and not agency bureaucrats—is accountable for expensive regulations, where the responsibility should belong.

No one will dispute that sound regulations have a place in our society. The issue we must confront has to do with regulations that have an adverse impact on businesses of all sizes. These regulations are the side effect of having unelected bureaucratic rule-makers in Washington who have never visited a central Illinois farm or worked in a small business, and thus, have no understanding of what these onerous rules mean to businesses.

The impact of new regulations is real and costly. The Small Business Administration reports the average annual cost per household from federal regulations is $15,000, and the cost that federal regulations place on small businesses is a whopping $10,585 per employee. When asked during a U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business Outlook Survey, 78 percent of small businesses polled reported that taxation, regulation and legislation from Washington make it harder for them to hire more employees.

These are unsustainable costs and statistics, especially for Illinois households and businesses that are already feeling the financial pressures in a state whose one-party leadership has severely mismanaged its finances.

In Illinois, we need every tool at our disposal to grow our state’s economy. The REINS Act will help remove the crushing regulations that are preventing businesses from growing and creating the jobs we badly need in our state. iBi

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