Nov 3, 2011
Today, Congressman John Boehner (R-OH) and Congressman Bob Gibbs (R-OH) released the following joint-column discussing the bipartisan “Forgotten 15” jobs bills passed by the House that are stuck in the Democratic-controlled Senate. The "Forgotten 15" includes the Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act (H.R. 872), a jobs bill authored by Rep. Gibbs that would stop the federal government from needlessly imposing costly and duplicative permitting requirements for pesticide use near waterways:
"Our nation’s economy is struggling to create jobs, and American families are filled with anxiety about declining net income and chronically high unemployment.
"One year ago, fed up with a Congress that wasn’t focusing on the jobs crisis, Americans put a new majority in charge of the House of Representatives. As part of that new majority, we pledged to focus relentlessly on removing obstacles that are standing in the way of job creation. We promised to send a steady stream of jobs legislation to the Democrats in the White House and Senate, who still control the rest of Washington.
"Since the beginning of the year, that is precisely what we’ve done. The House has passed an array of bills aimed at removing barriers to job creation and helping American job creators get back to doing what they do best. Some of these bills have been signed into law by President Obama. But tragically, many of them have never reached the president’s desk. Instead they’ve been stuck in the United States Senate gathering dust instead of garnering votes.
"At least 15 jobs bills have passed the House this year with significant bipartisan support, and are now sitting in the Senate waiting to be brought to a vote by the Democratic leadership. My colleagues and I have begun to refer to these jobs bills as the ‘Forgotten 15.’
"One of the Forgotten 15 is H.R. 872, the Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act, which was passed by the House back on March 31 with significant bipartisan support. The objective of the bill – which is part of our Plan for America’s Job Creators (Jobs.GOP.gov) – is to stop the federal government from needlessly imposing costly and duplicative permitting requirements for pesticide use near waterways.
"Pesticide use is already regulated, as it should be. The federal government is seeking to require the permitting not because an additional layer of regulation is needed, but because a misguided 2009 court order directed the Environmental Protection Agency to do it.
"Now that this ill-advised court decision has been implemented, public health officials, farmers, ranchers and even everyday citizens will face increased financial and administrative burdens in order to comply with the new permitting process; and all this expense comes with no additional environmental protection. It will be just another government obstacle to job creation at a time when our economy can least afford it.
"In order to overturn the court order and stop the job-crushing permitting requirements from being imposed, a bill has to be enacted by Congress.
"H.R. 872 passed the House in March with strong bipartisan support. A total of 57 Democrats voted with Republicans to approve it. Yet the Democratic-controlled Senate has been sitting motionless on the bill for more than six months.
"With the court order now in effect, the consequences of the Senate’s inaction on H.R. 872 take on a grim new dimension. We’ve known for months that this deadline was approaching, yet the leadership of the Senate has steadfastly refused to even schedule the bill for a vote.
"This is a bipartisan bill that could and should have been signed into law by President Obama more than six months ago to protect American jobs from being destroyed. Instead, H.R. 872 and at least 14 other jobs bills like it are stalled indefinitely in the Senate – “piling up like cord wood” in the words of one of our colleagues, Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX).
"We don’t expect President Obama or the Democratic leaders of the Senate to agree with us on every jobs bill we propose. But this one, approved in the House with the support of nearly a third of the Democratic caucus, is an obvious opportunity for common ground that ought to have been acted upon long ago.
"Instead, because of Senate inaction, American farmers, ranchers and other job creators will begin dealing with the costs of another unnecessary federal requirement, making it more difficult for them to preserve and add jobs. It is unacceptable.
"Americans can’t continue to wait for the Senate to act on H.R. 872 and other jobs bills from the Forgotten 15 passed by the House. It is past time for action. Job creators in America deserve nothing less."
U.S. Rep. John Boehner, representing Ohio’s 8th Congressional District, is Speaker of the House of Representatives. U.S. Rep. Bob Gibbs, representing Ohio’s 18th Congressional District, is the author of H.R. 872.