Late last week, a federal appeals court in Washington, D.C. ruled that President Obama’s three so-called recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) were unconstitutional. This decision was a step in the right direction of restoring a check on an administration which is increasingly acting without the consent of Congress. Unfortunately, America’s workers are the ones hurt because of the administration’s attempt to bypass Congress – the decision calls into question all of the decisions the NLRB has made in the last year, creating a tremendous amount of uncertainty. And it’s not like this outcome wasn’t predicted – last year, I chaired a hearing of the Education and Workforce Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions entitled, “The NLRB Recess Appointments: Implications for America’s Workers and Employers,” where this very issue was discussed in great detail. More and more, however, we see evidence that actions like the NLRB recess appointments are not isolated – they’re routine.
Last year House Majority Leader Eric CantorEric CantorChamber of Commerce overhauls lobbying operation Laura Ingraham under consideration for White House press secretary VA Dems jockey for Kaine's seat MORE released a detailed report titled “The Imperial Presidency.” This report underscored how the administration regularly bypasses Congress, and highlighted several ways the president’s regulatory agenda has discouraged job creation and slowed economic growth. For example, according to the Wall Street Journal and Heritage’s annual Index of Economic Freedom, the United States scores lower today on the rule of law than it did in 2008. This means that businesses are increasingly forced to rely on the courts to enforce their rights and interpret the law, just like with the NLRB recess appointments. This is an expensive, time-wasting hoop that discourages many potential entrepreneurs from launching – or growing – their businesses.
During these tough economic times, I believe creating an environment that encourages economic growth and job creation should be a top priority for the president. The entrepreneurial spirit is part of the foundation of America, and it is our duty as elected officials to ensure we’re doing all we can to promote and encourage that spirit. No administration should impose burdensome regulations that run contrary to this spirit. Unfortunately this isn’t the case, and after listening to President Obama’s inaugural address, I fear that things could get worse if we let them.
Because I feel so strongly about this, I proudly signed on as an original cosponsor of the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act. This legislation would require all new major regulations with an economic impact of $100 million or more to go through the congressional approval process before they go into effect. This means, just like legislation, the rule would have to be voted on by both the House and Senate and signed by the president. While the REINS Act won’t solve all our economic challenges overnight, I firmly believe this legislation is a strong step in the right direction. I will continue to push this bill and fight for job creators everywhere.
Roe is a member of the House Education and Workforce Committee.
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