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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Thursday, December 08, 2011

House REINS in Regs, But Partisan Divide Still Unbridled

It's called the REINS (Regulations from the Executive In Need of Scrutiny) Act. Sound pretty impressive, eh? LV Congressman Charlie Dent voted for it. In fact, so did every other Republican in Congress. All but four Democrats voted against it. It's dead on arrival in the Senate.

Dent explains that his vote in favor of REINS, which gives Congress more oversight, would both promote economic recovery and create more transparency. “President Obama has asserted over-regulation 'stifles innovation' and has a 'chilling effect on growth and jobs', yet federal agencies under his control continue to propose and advance major regulations that hinder our economic recovery,” said Dent. “Requiring Congressional approval of the most significant proposals will enhance the transparency of the entire federal rulemaking process and help strengthen the voice of the American people in the development of regulations that affect their daily lives.”

Congressional oversight would kick in for any major regulation, i.e. one estimated to have an annual economic impact of $100 million or more, or that results in a substantial increase in costs or prices for American consumers and producers, as well as federal, state and local government agencies. The bill establishes a 70 day window for Congress and the President to approve a rule through the passage of a joint resolution.

According to a Dent news release, there were 95 final major regulations in 2008, 84 in 2009, and 100 in 2010.

I can buy the transparency argument made by Dent. But I wonder whether these regulations are killing as many jobs as claimed. I understand the distrust of big government by fiscal conservatives. But New York Times columnist David Brooks, who is certainly no liberal, questions the validity of the GOP charge that Obama's is a "virulently antibusiness administration that spews out a steady flow of job- and economy-crushing regulations." He points out that only 13% of small businesses cite over-regulation as the reason why they lay off workers. Also, the most regulated of all industries - energy and health care - are the ones doing the most hiring.

So this Bill might lead to greater transparency, if it ever passed in the Senate, which it won't. But will it really help create more jobs? Especially when you know it's dead in the Senate? Is it all about talking points?

We have a serious problem. Both the GOP and the Democrats need to be working together, but they seem more divided than ever, and more interested in blaming each other than actually getting something done. Now I can see that some regulations might be stifling, but don't others also save lives?

Instead of reining in regulations, Democrats and Republicans in Congress need to rein in each other. Then we might start producing real jobs that will pass in both Houses.


Anonymous said...

A couple of weeks ago Boehner was on TV stating the need for less regulations, that all these regs are job killers. You know like pesky clean air and water regs. . Except these are good. Dent needs to hit the road with the rest. Move on to K Street.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Some regs are definitely needed for obvious reasons, and I see no hard evidence that regulations are killing jobs.

I like the idea of transparency, but don't like the partisan divide that exists with so much federal legislation. Why not work together instead of always keeping an eye out for the next election?

Part of this is our own fault. Two years is too short a time, and a Congressman has to spend at least half his time campaigning and raising money. We should look at that.

Anonymous said...

6 years and out for Prez
you like his/her agenda...vote for the veep
no campaign mode
maybe 3 years for Reps.
election cycles paired with Sens.

Jon Geeting said...

Thanks for being honest about the regulations/jobs issue Bernie.

You should also consider whether shifting this much regulatory authority to Congress is just going to be a lobbying bonanza. Lobbyists have less pull in the agency rule-making process than they do with members of Congress.

Anonymous said...

Oh you have to be kidding. You can't honestly think regulators operate independently of the politicians that appoint them?

To think that for one second is so naive it boggles the mind. You really need to get out from behind your computer and see what's going on in the real world.

Anonymous said...

Lets see,the republicans cant come up with a leader to beat Obama so they fail in nov. In Obamas 2nd term gridlock starts to fade due to republicans coming to the table in Washington.The reps strategy the last four years will hurt them long term.Tea party is already flaccid and the so called lehigh county saviors three will be fartin in the wind.

Tom Foolery said...

I have to laugh at the Republicans when they try to tie their destruction of environmental regulations to creation of jobs. They are just so pathetic. Maybe their thought here is if they can completely wipe out environmental regs most folks won't live long enough to enjoy social security and medicare..Wow, look at all the savings there...And all of those that they take out before they reach social security age can then be replaced by the unemployed..Wow, again, look ma, new jobs! God they're brilliant..

Bernie O'Hare said...


I am always honest in my writing. I might get it wrong, but I try.

You need to be a little more honest in your own propaganda pieces. I have very little respect for your complete lack of decency in basically calling Tony Simao a criminal without even bothering to talk to him. That type of dishonesty goes beyond poor journalism. It is scummy behavior. You did the same thing to Salvesen, too.

So don't talk to me about honesty.

Anonymous said...


To be fair, this is something that Jon Geeting has been talking about for some time now and the polling data from businesses - you know the "job creators" - have been showing as well. I don't agree with Geeting on a number of issues, but with this he has been ahead of the curve while you are late to the party.

Something that I have mentioned here for years as well is Rep. Dent pretty much voting the R party line (like, 85% of the time)and that being the true bottom line. You can tell me he is a "moderate" or a "centrist" but that is not the way he votes. That is a big problem that you have consistently overlooked and in many cases defended.

Back to the regulation issue, as you report, there were more new regulations in 2008 (Bush's last year) then Obama's first year (2009) and only 5 more in his second year in office. Since you have a concern about Ds and Rs working together, you might want to ask Rep. Dent to explain why this regulation issue is suddenly a problem and where was he on the issue in 2008? While you are at it, why don't you ask him to specifically define the benefits we received from the deregulation of the banking system that occurred in the mid 2000s? If you look at the data, of the 30 largest subprime mortgage lenders only one was a regulated bank (Wells Fargo) and none were named Fannie or Freddie. The largest was Countrywide Financial and former CEO Anthony Mozillo walked away with a $60M fine and not even a criminal charge against him, let alone the jail time he deserved.

My point is that you have been a cheerleader/defender for Mr. Dent for a very long time questioning just about nothing he has done and posting what appears to be every PR release from his office. This is a change which is nice.

What I would hope for is that you might now be a little more objective in your assessment of Mr. Dent and the way he represents the 15th district. Or more to the point, they way he doesn't represent the people of the 15th district.

You have a forum to do what is right. You have a forum that allows you to call bull$hit on local pols. I, for one, would hope that you can start using this platform to be more effective than you have in the past in getting past the talking points and towards a better understanding of what the people who represent us actually vote for.

In other words, Bernie, my hope is that you can go beyond your like or dislike of our politicians and take a more objective stance. After all, your underlying argument seems to be arguing here for just that.


Bernie O'Hare said...


I believe Jonathan was right on the substance on this issue, but also believe his writing is intellectually dishonest. It reads more like shrill propaganda on most issues, and I was appalled by a basic lack of decency in the way he handled Simao and Salvesen.

Objectively, Dent IS a centrist and has consistently been rated as such by the objective National Journal, not me.

But I do not pretend to be objective. But the agenda I pursue is my own, not one form either political party. And what I see right now is that BOTH parties are to blame for the gridlock that has made us all suffer.

Anonymous said...

Well then, if the

"National Journal" says so

Anonymous said...

Labels usually fall short. If Dent is a centrist, David Brooks is indeed a liberal. Most business people I encounter understand the pendulum swung very far to the anti-business extreme when Obama was elected. They also realize that if they navigator carefully, minimize debt, and guard capital, things will improve when he's gone and the pendulum swings back for a while until the next guy.

Anonymous said...


Certainly Geeting can be and is biased in his views there are some who say that you are intellectually dishonest as well. Intellectual dishonesty is something that we can also charge many of the politicians who act as representatives allegedly for the people of their districts. And I do not have enough knowledge on the Simao or Salvresen issues to speak on them, but from what I know about Salvresen I would never want him to represent me at any level of government.

And I do concede that Dent is a Centrist, but he is not a moderate. He is a centrist because he does try and appear to be in the middle. The problem is the conversation has moved so far to the political right of center, he is nowhere near a moderate.

Regardless of what we call him, his voting record is not that of a moderate. Dent voted for a Paul Ryan's budget that would have ended Medicare as we know it and turned it into a voucher program; Just recently, Dent voted to allow gun carry permits from other states to be valid across state lines (this is to the right of law enforcement); He did sign on as one of the 140 Reps and Senators who said that the Supercommittee should consider both spending and revenues, which was good, until he released a statement that said revenues should remain neutral.

If these are the actions of a centrist then there will be no compromise for the simple reason that they are non-compromising positions Dent has staked out.

You have every right to be biased, but you appear to do it blindly. This is the first time I can remember you actually questioning anything Dent has said or done. I am sure there are a few other times, I just have no recollection. If you could maybe post up some links to previous writings where you did that would be great, as I could get a better understanding.

What I am hoping you can do is try and look through your bias and look towards the facts and reasonable outcomes of policy statements made by your political favorites (as well as those you are biased against. Here are two examples:

Regarding Dent, how do you really feel about his vote to change Medicare to a voucher system? How would this effect you and your family (grandson for example)? How would your world change if you received $7k to purchase health insurance for yourself on your 65th b'day?

Now take John Calahan and ask yourself this question: Where would you rather reside, on Main Street in Bethlehem or Center City Easton?

And while we are at it, your BFF Ron Angle railed against a casino coming to Bethlehem. He went on about the moral decay of gambling and $20 whores on the sacred Beth. Steel land. Let's forget the fact that when it was a functioning steel mill there was gambling and whores around South Bethlehem. Can we admit that he was wrong, that the casino has been a success, that it has produced economic gains for the area, as well as produced jobs and economic growth?