(Updates with comments by public advocacy group)
WASHINGTON Aug 26 With a battle looming over
U.S. regulations on businesses, the top Republican in Congress
asked President Barack Obama on Friday to identify all proposed
rules with a projected economic impact of at least $1 billion.
House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner said he
wants the information before Congress returns early next month
from its summer recess. He said the House will consider
legislation calling for a congressional review and approval of
any proposed federal government regulation.
While the administration is pushing to eliminate what it
considers to be old and unneeded regulations, Republicans and
the business community complain it is not pushing hard enough
and fear new regulations would hurt an already weak economy.
The speaker's letter came three days after the White House
released a list of more than 500 possible rule changes it said
could save $10 billion over five years.
Boehner unsuccessfully made the same request last year when
Obama's fellow Democrats held the House. Now with Republicans
in charge, the president is under pressure to comply and a big
battle is expected over government regulations.
Boehner wrote that the number of proposed regulations with
an annual cost of $100 million or more jumped last year from
191 to 219.
"That's almost a 15 percent increase over last year, and
appears to contradict public suggestions by the administration
this week that the regulatory burden on American job creators
is being scaled back," Boehner wrote.
Rich Robinson of Public Citizen, a public advocacy group,
replied by accusing Republicans and their business allies of
routinely ignoring the upside of federal regulations.
"Regulatory controls on 'Big Business' have enormous
benefits. They save lives and reduce illness. Less pollution,
for instance, means fewer cases of asthma and lung disease.
Having safer toys on store shelves means fewer children dying
after choking on small parts," Robinson said.
Robinson cited studies by the Office of Management and
Budget during the Obama and Bush administrations that he said
found that the benefits of regulations far exceed their costs.
(Reporting by Thomas Ferraro; Editing by Vicki Allen and Eric