Boehner asks Obama for info on costly proposed regulations

John Boehner
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Once again charging that the Obama administration is hampering the economy with undue regulatory burdens, House Speaker John Boehner on Friday sent President Obama a letter, asking the administration to provide Congress with a list of all newly proposed regulations with a projected economic impact of at least $1 billion.

"This information is of great relevance to the American people, who face so much uncertainty about these new regulatory costs," Boehner wrote.

Boehner points out that the administration's current regulatory agenda includes at least 219 planned regulations with an estimated economic impact of at least $100 million, which Boehner says stands in contradiction to the White House's government-wide efforts to lessen the regulatory burden on businesses.

For instance, Boehner writes, "I was startled to learn that the EPA estimates that at least one of its proposed rules will cost our economy as much as $90 billion per year. The Administration has not disclosed how many of the other 218 planned rules will cost more than $1 billion, nor identified these rules."

The Environmental Protection Agency rule to which Boehner is referring is a pending decision to tighten ozone standards. Last year, the EPA said it would revisit the standards because some said the Bush administration lowered the ozone standard to a level that would pose a risk to human health. However, the Obama administration has already missed multiple deadlines to change the standard and faces political pressure on both sides of the issue, from business organizations on one side and groups like Environmental Defense Fund and the American Lung Association on the other side.

In the executive order Mr. Obama signed earlier this year ordering a government-wide regulatory review, the president said the government's regulatory system "must protect public health, welfare, safety, and our environment while promoting economic growth, innovation, competitiveness, and job creation." Thus, while the EPA considers new rules like the tightened ozone standards, it has offered other rule changes designed to save money, such as a move from paper-based to electronic reporting, which would save up to $126 million annually.

Republicans called the White House's efforts and streamlining regulations "underwhelming," as House Majority Eric Cantor put it.

In his letter today, Boehner asks for the list of economically significant proposed regulations by the time Congress returns from its August recess, "as we continue our efforts to remove impediments to job creation and economic growth for the American people."

The House is considering legislation that would require congressional review and approval of any proposed federal government regulation determined to have a "significant impact" on the economy.