May 24, 2023

Arrington Opening Statement on Removing the Burdens of Government Overreach

Today, House Budget Committee Chairman Jodey Arrington (R-TX) delivered the following opening remarks at a hearing on “Removing the Burdens of Government Overreach,” which is part one of our new hearing series, “Reigniting American Growth and Prosperity.”

Click here to watch Chairman Jodey Arrington’s Opening Statement.

Chairman Arrington’s remarks as prepared for delivery:

Today, we are kickstarting a new series of hearings on how this Committee, and this Congress, can contribute to reigniting American growth and prosperity. If we are going to bring down inflation and interest rates, lift our economy out of recession, strengthen our nation’s balance sheet, and stave off a debt crisis, we have to reduce spending and grow the economy.

That’s the strategy that has worked in the past and that’s the formula for success to get us out of our current economic and financial mess. And that’s the framework for our current debt ceiling proposal – rein-in spending, right-size the bloated bureaucracy, and return to pro-growth, pro-work, and pro-energy policies that will unleash American prosperity once again.

Today’s hearing will focus on the economic growth part of this equation. With $32 trillion in debt, 123% debt-to-GDP, the prospect of $20 trillion more debt in 10 years, an annual deficit set to double and interest payments that have increased by 40% from last year and are now at $663 billion – we can’t just grow out of this problem. However, if we grow our economy while controlling spending, we can create a glide-path to a healthier balance sheet, a stronger economy, and a brighter future.

The last two years have been a recipe for economic disaster – higher taxes, an onslaught of regulations, an expansion of welfare without work, a whole-of-government assault on American energy – AND a whopping $11 trillion in spending – with an unprecedented $6 trillion added to the national debt in just two years!

Today, we will focus on the burden of excessive and over-reaching regulations and how they kill jobs, suppress growth, reduce wages, and increase costs to consumers. We need reasonable and limited rules for fair competition and consumer protection, basic safeguards for health and safety – BUT, by Congressional abdication and/or executive activism, we have created a fourth branch of government and a massive “regulatory state” that is compromising our freedom, quenching our entrepreneurial spirit, and choking the life out of our economy.

The Code of Federal Regulations now contains more than 1.3 million separate regulatory restrictions and costs our economy trillions of dollars every year! The cumulative effect of this seemingly infinite set of rules and regulations is devastating to our economy, global competitiveness, and quality of life.

The Mercatus Center found that if regulations had remained at 1980 levels, GDP in 2012 would have been $4 trillion higher and real incomes would be higher by $13,000 per person. President Trump took on this herculean task of de-regulating our economy with great success and with great reward for our fellow Americans. Instead of just piling on more rules, his administration was successful in eliminating eight regulations for every new regulation enacted, which saved consumers and businesses more than $220 billion per year.

President Biden, on the other hand, has unleashed an unprecedented barrage of regulations and executive actions at a record clip. All told, his Administration has added $360 billion in total new regulatory costs on the economy. Just to put this into perspective, his administration is on pace to double in four years the costs of the Obama White House’s regulations over eight years.

It’s not just the economic cost that’s hurting our country, it’s the circumvention of our democratic process to make policy whole-cloth outside of the Constitutional legislative process and against the will of the American people.

Advancing policies by regulatory fiat that could never pass the United States Congress undermines popular sovereignty and is an affront to our self-determination.

Recent examples include:

  • Expanding government dependency by executive fiat;
  •  Pushing more than 600,000 people onto Obamacare who already have employer-sponsored health insurance;
  • Removing work requirements for able-bodied adults;
  • Allowing millions of people who are ineligible to stay on Medicaid rolls;
  • Forcing low-income families to pay for the student loans of upper-and-middle class individuals;

The President is unilaterally using rules and regulations to target an entire industry that has given us affordable and abundant energy by:

  • Shutting down power plants;
  • Shaking down federal contractors for information about emissions it has no control over– that rule alone will cost small businesses $600 million; and
  • Dictating what cars and trucks you can buy, and even what kind of stoves you can use.

And as if it isn’t hard enough to keep a small business going with inflation and a labor shortage, the administration is piling on new mandates on worker classifications, overtime pay, and severance payments. Getting rid of all of the needless and burdensome red tape will take a sustained effort, and we welcome the input of our Democrat colleagues.

If we don’t reverse course, the greatest economy in the world will die a death of a thousand regulatory cuts and our children will not inherit the land of opportunity, but a desolate economy and barren land, a bankrupt country, and a very bleak future for their families.

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