By Tom Fletcher
The Republican Study Committee (RSC) has put together a jobs bill package that contains many pro-growth policies dealing in four categories: Labor, Deregulation, Energy, and Access to Capital. The items in the bill outline represent either RSC member’s initiatives or bills that have been introduced and/or passed as legislation. Looking closer at the details, the legislation incudes a number of policies that Americans for Prosperity has endorsed in the past, either partly or fully. Here is a break-down:
AFP broadly supports many of the items listed in the Labor section of the legislation. Specifically, AFP has supported previous efforts to repeal Davis-Bacon, which mandates that all federal contracting jobs be paid the prevailing wage set forth by unions. The RSC has also rightly looked to end the dubious practice of official time, by barring federal employees from conducting union business during the work day. Furthermore, AFP applauds the RSC in taking steps to try and rein in the NLRB, whose decisions made by “non-recess recess appointments” were later invalidated by a federal court.
In its jobs bill, the RSC has taken the welcome step of initiating much-needed regulatory reform. This is particularly important given the amount of red tape hamstringing businesses today. Part of the RSC’s effort includes asking federal agencies to evaluate the economic impact and to conduct cost-benefit-analysis on proposed rules, which AFP supports. The legislation also increases accountability into existing regulations whose impact have significant economic impact ($100 million) by requiring agencies to review rules and make them subject to change if they are not meeting requirements. In addition, AFP applauds the RSC calling on the Small Business Administration (SBA) to conduct studies looking at the costs of regulations on small business and submitting annual reports to Congress.
This legislation contains significant and important energy initiatives that will create jobs, improve economic growth, and improve Americans’ access to affordable energy. Specifics that AFP supports includes approving the permit for the Keystone Pipeline, allowing lease sales for the Outer Continental Shelf and opening up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) for energy exploration as well as the Eastern Gulf. Likewise, the RSC proposes to reform the permitting process by requiring the federal government to issue a drilling permit within 30 days of its application and if no decision has been given in 60 days, the application is approved.
There are a handful of items included in the bill that are outside of AFP’s issue purview, but on the whole, the aforementioned items in the RSC jobs bill represent sound policy proposals that would help roll back the country’s overbearing regulatory regime, help foster economic growth, and restore taxpayer confidence.