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Conservative organization Club for Growth is calling on Congress and President Trump to temporarily roll back federal regulations that impose costs on businesses as a strategy to help the U.S. economy recover from the coronavirus crisis that has left businesses shuttered and millions without jobs.
Club for Growth advocates a two-pronged approach in its proposal released on Wednesday, which would see Trump issue an executive order suspending penalties for businesses that fail to meet regulatory standards despite making an effort to follow them. The group would also have Congress pass a bill giving the president the authority “to suspend or reduce Federal regulations and paperwork requirements.”
“By reducing unnecessary paperwork, permitting requirements, and other regulations that add costs or slow economic growth and job creation,” the Club for Growth proposal says, “the Congress and Administrative agencies can greatly accelerate the recovery, allowing businesses to create more jobs, and restore full employment rates.”
The group claims that in 2019, federal regulations cost the economy $1.9 trillion, hitting small businesses with a price tag of more than $15,000 per employee.
Specifically, the group asks that Congress permit the president to “suspend all regulations when doing so reduces costs, assists in economic recovery or increases private sector opportunities in the U.S.,” a broad mandate that would give Trump essentially free reign to stop the enforcement of a wide variety of regulations.
The proposal would also set up procedural hurdles to reinstating any suspended regulations that could make such rollbacks nearly permanent and make new federal regulations much harder to put into place.
It says that “Congress should include in the legislation procedures for reinstating suspended regulations and any subsequent regulations that impose net costs on the economy,” including “APA (Administrative Procedures Act) notice and comment, as well as approval by Act of Congress signed by the President.”
This would represent a significant change in how federal rules are made by administrative agencies, bringing Congress and the president officially into the loop in procedures that usually are left to bureaucrats in federal agencies given power to make their own rules consistent with guidance provided in legislation. It would also be very difficult to get past the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives.
The Club for Growth further asks that Congress reduce the burdens of permitting new infrastructure projects, including by “removing some environmental review requirements.”
This, the group says, would allow “new infrastructure projects to pay competitive, market-set wages so that they can employ the maximum number of people.”
Members of Congress and Trump have both telegraphed an interest in including significant infrastructure investments in a “phase four” coronavirus relief bill to be passed once the House and Senate reconvene after April 20.