Freeze Red Tape to Warm the Economy

The House Judiciary Committee, by a vote of 15–13, recently approved a proposed moratorium on new regulations in order to spur job creation.

The Regulatory Freeze for Jobs Act, introduced by Representative Tim Griffin (R–AR), would freeze all new “significant” regulations from being proposed or finalized until unemployment nationally falls at or below 6 percent. (The term significant primarily refers to regulations expected to cost the economy $100 million or more annually.) The moratorium would not apply to national security regulations, trade agreements, criminal law enforcement, or imminent threats to public health or safety. Additionally, the President could seek a waiver from Congress for other regulations.

Regulation is imposing an enormous—and worsening—burden on the economy. In the recently released study Red Tape Rising: Obama-Era Regulation at the Three-Year Mark, James Gattuso and Diane Katz document that the Obama Administration in 2011 issued 32 “major” regulations (costing $100 million or more each year) that added $10 billion annually in new regulatory costs and $6.6 billion in one-time implementation costs. Since taking office, the Administration has issued 106 major regulations at a cost of $46 billion annually.

Small businesses, in particular, simply cannot keep up with the torrent of new rules and mounting compliance costs. A freeze would help temper the regulatory climate in which resources for investment and job creation are diverted to regulatory compliance. If enacted, the moratorium would delay dozens of rules that threaten consumer access to capital and credit under the vast Dodd–Frank financial regulation statute. The moratorium would also forestall regulations encompassed within the global warming crusade of the Environmental Protection Agency. The government takeover of health care embodied in Obamacare would also be delayed.

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Several other regulatory reform bills are pending in the House, but the prospects for most are grim. But as a temporary measure, the Regulatory Freeze for Jobs Act offers a chance to halt the red tape that is imposing an unsustainable burden on us.

Mary Bidgood is currently a member of the Young Leaders Program at the Heritage Foundation. For more information on interning at Heritage, please visit:

Source material can be found at this site.

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