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By NWV News writer Jim Kouri
Posted 1:00 AM Eastern
June 14, 2011

In its ongoing effort to fight burdensome regulations and protect jobs, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations this week examined the Obama administration’s attempts at regulatory reform.

During a startling exchange, Obama regulatory czar Cass Sunstein revealed that the administration’s independent agencies (Federal Communications Commission, Federal Trade Commission, etc), have refused to participate in the effort to identify job smothering regulations.

On January 18, 2011, President Obama signed Executive Order 13563 on Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review.

The order stated under the General Principles of Regulation: “Our regulatory system must protect public health, welfare, safety, and our environment while promoting economic growth, innovation, competitiveness, and job creation.”

The executive order required federal agencies to review existing regulations and submit preliminary plans by May 18. While independent agencies are not technically required to comply with the order, Sunstein has encouraged their participation.

During an exchange with Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), Sunstein revealed only one independent agency has submitted a regulatory review, and that review by the National Labor Relations Board amounted to a one page document.

“We learned today that the Obama administration’s much celebrated regulatory reform simply does not exist amongst the independent agencies,” said Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Stearns.

“The administration continues to push onerous regulations and bureaucratic red tape that they were unable to get through Congress during their one party reign. Today’s disappointing jobs report further adds to the urgency of our effort to reduce burdensome regulations.”

Sunstein has been labeled the "most dangerous man in America" by television and radio commentator Glenn Beck. When he was originally appointed as an Obama Administration czar, many conservatives -- and even moderates -- were concerned with Obama's choice.

The Harvard Law professor who has been appointed to a shadowy post that gave him powers that border on scary believes in using the courts to impose a "chilling effect" on any speech that might hurt someone's feelings. He thinks that the bloggers have been rampaging out of control and that new laws need to be written to corral them.

Sunstein is President Obama's choice to head the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. It's the titles that should scary. Cass Sunstein had come under fire for suggesting that it would be a good idea to deploy federal agents to "cognitively infiltrate" political events and conferences, a definite First Amendment violation.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce representative William L. Kovacs, appearing on behalf of the nation’s business community, elaborated on the drastic impact regulations are having on jobs. Kovacs testified, “The cumulative impact of regulatory action can be overwhelming: agencies literally have the power to decide the fate of firms and entire industries.

This recently happened for two power plants: Portland Gas & Electric’s Boardman coal-fired power plant in Oregon, and Exelon Corporation’s Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station in New Jersey. In both cases, the utility was forced to choose between installing several hundred million dollars’ worth of pollution controls to comply with EPA regulations (regional haze at Boardman, cooling water intake structures at Oyster Creek), or simply shut down early. In both cases, the utility chose to shut down.

This is a highly disturbing trend, and one that will only continue in 2011 with the issuance of even more major rules.

The Energy and Commerce Committee has been at the forefront of efforts to promote job creation, with a focus on expanding American-made energy and promoting a balanced regulatory approach that does not harm job creators. Aggressive oversight of burdensome regulations is a critical component of the Republican Plan for America’s Job Creators.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) released a statement signed by more than 150 economists backing his call for spending cuts that exceed any increase in the debt limit.

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The statement is signed by some of our country’s best economic minds, including a Nobel Prize winner (Robert Mundell); economists from schools such as Stanford (Michael Boskin, John F. Cogan, Eric A. Hanushek, David R. Henderson, James C. Miller III, John B. Taylor) and Carnegie-Mellon (Robert Dammon, Marvin Goodfriend, Allan Meltzer); a former U.S. Secretary of State (George P. Shultz); and two former directors of the Congressional Budget Office (Douglas Holtz-Eakin, June O’Neill).

It was pointed out that despite President Barack Obama's claims, economists do not believe his actions will lead to a stronger economy.

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“We learned today that the Obama administration’s much celebrated regulatory reform simply does not exist amongst the independent agencies,” said Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Stearns.