Republican Rep. Darrell Issa, who will lead the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, sent a letter to more than 150 companies and other organizations asking them to identify regulations that they would like to see eliminated.
"The Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is examining existing and proposed regulations that negatively impact the economy and jobs," the letter opens. Issa goes on to ask recipients "for your assistance in identifying existing and proposed regulations that have negatively impacted job growth in your members' industry."
Politico, which first reported on the appeal, said that Duke Energy, the Association of American Railroads, FMC Corp., Toyota and Bayer are among the groups who were sent the letter on Dec. 13th. The American Petroleum Institute, National Association of Manufacturers, the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association and representatives of the health care and telecommunications industries were also reportedly contacted by Issa.
"There is something fundamentally flawed in embracing a premise that relies on attacking the largest employer in America - private industry," Issa spokesman Kurt Bardella said in a statement. "The anti-business policies of the past have hurt job creators, small and large. It's in the interest of every American that we create a regulatory environment that fosters economic growth and makes U.S. companies globally competitive. Maybe this disdain for job creators is why the current policies in place have failed to create the type of long-term, permanent jobs the American people were promised."
"Moving forward, gaining insight from job creators who have felt shut-out of the policy process so that we have a better understanding about what regulatory barriers are standing in the way of job creation is something policymakers across the ideological spectrum should support," he added.
Hotsheet asked Bardella whether Issa planned to use any mechanism to judge the value of the regulations in question other than the opinions of the companies and other organizations that are being regulated. Bardella did not directly answer that question.
"We're asking for input, that doesn't preclude positive feedback," he replied. "This is a process on getting facts, it really wouldn't make sense to pre-judge what we'll do until we have all the data."
Democrats and liberals have seized on the story to portray the GOP as in the pocket of big business.
"Yes, if there's one lesson Congressman Issa learned from the financial crisis that cost 8 million Americans their jobs or the BP oil spill that devastated the local economies in the Gulf region, it's that MORE deregulation is the key to 'job growth,'" said one e-mail highlighting the story from Americans United for Change.
"This really says it all about whose interests the GOP is really out to protect - and it's not middle class families," added the Democratic National Committee.
Business groups have complained that they have been shut out by the Obama administration, which successfully pushed for regulatory reform of Wall Street following the 2008 economic meltdown. One of the major complaints from some business groups has been the Environmental Protection Agency's push to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, an effort that has been strongly opposed by Congressional Republicans. The GOP successfully beat back efforts to craft legislation to address climate change last year.
Among the issues Issa has said heis regulation of business by the Obama administration.