U.S. Chamber Calls on Federal and State Lawmakers to Stem the Growing Tide of Excessive Regulation

Wednesday, October 6, 2010 - 8:00pm

Chamber Intensifies Effort to Highlight Impact of Excessive Regulations;Donohue Says Onslaught Is “Short-circuiting” the Recovery and “Stunting Long-term Growth”

DES MOINES, IA—Less than a month before Election Day and with polls showing increasing voter discontent about the growth of government, the head of the nation’s largest business organization, Thomas J. Donohue, today called on federal and state lawmakers to help stem a tidal wave of regulations that are significantly impeding American business’ ability to create jobs. The speech is one of several activities the Chamber is embarking on to aggressively highlight the tsunami of regulation that is stifling business ahead of the mid-term elections.

“The regulatory impact on the business community is pervasive, insidious, and needs to be exposed,” said Donohue, U.S. Chamber President and CEO, in a speech to the Des Moines Rotary Club. “American businesses are sinking under its weight, threatening to short-circuit our recovery and undermine our long-term growth. More importantly, it is suffocating the entrepreneurial spirit so vital to America’s success.”

In the coming weeks the Chamber will devote significant resources to highlighting the excessive regulatory burden that has been generated in Washington. Building off of a series of events in Washington, including the Chamber’s Campaign for Free Enterprise Jobs Summit this past July, the Chamber will take its message to the states while members are on Congressional recess. Along with regional speeches by senior Chamber officials, the Chamber will place targeted OpEds, run print and online advertisements, and continue its new and social media push around the overregulation theme. This week the Chamber is unveiling a new Website – www.ThisWaytoJobs.com – that showcases the sheer enormity of regulations being imposed in numerous policy areas, including a viral video that asks, “In our current economic climate, why are politicians making it harder for businesses to be in business?”

The Chamber will also distribute a regulations-themed board game called This Way to Jobs to Capitol Hill staff. In this game, each player represents a business and must navigate through the many new and existing burdensome regulations along the path to Prosperity Park, which is the finish line. The goal is to show a step-by-step example of the uncertainty and onerous regulations businesses are facing.

“Businesses have long recognized the need for sensible regulations,” said Donohue. “But it’s critical that Congress and the administration recognize that the regulatory burden and uncertainty they have imposed on job creators have pushed them to a tipping point.”

Donohue cited statistics from the Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy estimating the total cost of federal regulations at $1.75 trillion. The compliance burden is 36% higher for small businesses, or $10,600 per employee. Small businesses create 60% to 80% of new jobs. The Code of Federal Regulations, which lists all federal regulations currently in force, spans nearly 150,000 pages over 50 volumes. The United States has added 40,000 new regulations to the books in the last decade.

Donohue called on Congress to stop passing sweeping, overly broad laws that leave key decisions to regulators and to exercise more vigorous oversight of rules with an economic impact of more than $100 million. He encouraged vigorous implementation of the Data Quality Act and the Regulatory Flexibility Act. The Data Quality Act requires that federal agencies’ scientific and statistical information is sufficiently transparent and reproducible; that agencies ensure the quality of data provided by third parties; and that agencies establish an administrative appeal process for correction requests that are denied. The Regulatory Flexibility Act requires agencies to produce legitimate estimates of the impact their regulations will have on small businesses, and make sure their regulations will have the least impact possible.

“Today we are issuing a clarion call for Americans and lawmakers to stop the encroachment of a government by the regulators before it’s too late,” Donohue continued. “At stake is the health of our economy, our standard of living, our global competitiveness, and the free enterprise system that is at the heart of the American Dream.”

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.

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