Freeing the engines of our communities

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I often think about the Americans in communities across this nation who have sat at their desks well into the night trying to make sure they filed necessary paperwork and kept up to date on federal regulations so they can keep their small businesses afloat, provide for their families and ensure steady income for their employees. These producers are the engines of our communities and economy.

One of my top priorities in Congress has been to curtail unreasonable government mandates unnecessarily adding to what can feel like a mountain of paperwork adding to the pressures on these economic drivers. Seeing the progress this Congress and this Administration is making in removing federal red tape impeding American ingenuity and growth is heartening as work continues to create the economic conditions to add jobs and grow our economy.

I have heard encouraging reports of a sense that, under the current Administration and Congress, American small businesses are not going to face new federal regulatory fights. Job creators are not having to be on the defense waiting to see what red tape will tangle them next. Rather, they have the freedom to expand and grow jobs. Reporting about record level job openings and wages in May, NFIB President and CEO Juanita Duggan said, “This month’s jobs report demonstrates that small business owners’ optimism is showing no signs of abating. They are increasing compensation at record levels and are continuing to hire. Post tax reform, concerns about taxes and regulations are taking a backseat to their worries over filling open positions and finding qualified candidates.”

A conservative approach to federal regulations is prevailing — questioning first whether regulations will inflict more harm than good and whether old regulations are achieving their purposes or creating problems. Conservative appointees, who are important partners in decreasing federal overreach, are being shepherded through the Senate.

These factors and a pro-growth Congress are making progress in the ongoing effort to eliminate federal overreach, creating more freedom for innovation and job growth.

Congress and the Administration have been delaying or canceling misguided federal regulatory actions. This includes enactment of a resolution overturning U.S. Department of Interior Bureau of Land Management Resource Management Planning Rule, also known as “Planning 2.0.” This rule would have limited necessary local involvement in natural resources planning.

As Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, I worked with the Administration and my colleagues in Congress to achieve the enactment of the bipartisan Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act that right-sizes regulation to make it easier for smaller financial institutions to provide services to working families while maintaining and increasing important consumer protections.

The administration reports, in the last fiscal year, federal agencies issued “67 deregulatory actions to only 3 regulatory actions—a 22:1 ratio.”

Especially important for western states, President Trump issued an Executive Order to undo the 2015 “Waters of the United States Rule” that would have exerted federal control over nearly every stream, ditch, pond and puddle on state, local lands and private property.

Congress repealed Obamacare’s mandate requiring Americans to buy health insurance or face a penalty.

The U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee Majority provides the following analysis, “The addition of 223,000 jobs and the unemployment rate dropping to 3.8 percent are further evidence that tax and regulatory reforms have removed the artificial policy constraints that had forced Americans to endure subpar economic progress for eight years.” These and other efforts are helping to create a better climate for Americans to succeed by removing burdensome federal mandates.

Sen. Mike Crapo is a Republican who represents Idaho in the U.S. Senate. He can be reached at crapo.senate.gov.

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