Excessive regulation has put businesses in Minnesota and around the country back on their heels.
Many Minnesotans looking for jobs, along with employers who would like to add to their work forces, are feeling hamstrung by threats of higher taxes, more spending and new regulatory burdens from Washington.
For far too long, I have been hearing from job creators, workers, and frustrated, unemployed men and women who want to know how we can get America working again. They want to see us put the nation's fiscal house in order and remove Washington's regulatory roadblocks to job creation.
We can all agree that reasonable regulations protect our children and the environment. But far too many excessive regulations unnecessarily increase costs for consumers and small businesses, making it harder for the private sector to create jobs.
Last week, I led a regulations tour throughout Minnesota's Second Congressional District, hearing from Minnesota workers, farmers and businesses hurt by ongoing and proposed job-killing regulations.
Minnesota farmers and ag producers shared with me their concerns about the Environmental Protection Agency's plans to increase regulations of dust, which would affect anyone who uses a combine or drives on a gravel road.
They said increased regulations of dust would restrict economic development and growth and be detrimental to the farming industry. To quote a Le Sueur County farmer, "It boggles my mind how you would regulate dust."
Another stop on the tour was a cement and ready-mix plant where I visited with workers and managers.
Although the cement industry is already one of the most overregulated industries in the United States, the EPA is proposing seven new overreaching rules that would severely hinder the industry nationwide.
Studies show the EPA's proposed rules would force the industry to shut down 18 plants (11 percent of production), cost $3.4 billion over three years (half the industry's annual revenues) and directly destroy 4,000 jobs.
"We haven't bought any trucks for three years because of the uncertainty and our customers are feeling the ripple effect," said one frustrated employer.
During my visit to a local engineering small business, I heard about the federal government's overreach in areas ranging from the National Labor Relations Board to the new health care law commonly called "Obamacare."
This small business is a subcontractor to more than 100 airlines, and to Boeing. After Boeing spent $1 billion building a plant and hiring thousands of workers in South Carolina, the NLRB sought to force the transfer of work to a unionized facility in Washington state.
If successful, the NLRB's action could destroy thousands of South Carolina jobs. It's already having a chilling effect on job creators across the country.
Discussing the federal government's increasingly intrusive footprint into the private sector, the small-business owner said, "I have to watch my back so I don't get shot in the butt."
Another small business I visited is feeling the effects of a Department of Energy rule that will virtually eliminate from the market a highly sought-after product it manufactures.
Thousands of U.S.-based jobs related to the manufacturing, distribution and sale of these products could be eliminated -- including jobs right here in the Second District.
"It almost feels like we're getting hijacked," said an employee.
Said a member of management about the economic uncertainty Washington is creating: "It's hard to come out of the fetal position if you don't know which direction to look."
These egregious attempts by federal agencies to regulate everything from farm dust to where an employer can create jobs in the United States is crippling Minnesota job creators and entrepreneurs from coast to coast -- and the resulting uncertainty is growing at an alarming pace.
The Obama administration has publicly listed 219 new regulatory actions under consideration for the upcoming year, each of which would have an estimated cost to our economy of $100 million or more.
In response to a request by House Republicans, the president revealed that seven of these regulations would have an estimated economic cost of $1 billion each.
This year, one of our guiding principles in the U.S. House of Representatives is ensuring that our governing agenda focuses on removing government barriers to private-sector job creation.
I am pleased to have introduced legislation that would repeal or stop these excessive regulatory grabs. In the case against Boeing, I championed legislation that recently passed the House which would prevent the NLRB from dictating where a private business can and cannot create jobs.
Unfortunately, like 15 other jobs bills passed by the House this year, this important legislation continues to sit dormant in the U.S. Senate.
The job creators and workers could not have made their points any clearer during my regulations tour: Small-business owners, entrepreneurs, farmers and ag producers don't need Washington to tell them how to create jobs.
They need the president and Congress to get out of the way.
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John Kline, a Republican, represents Minnesota's Second District in the U.S. House.
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