Boehner asks Obama for billion-dollar list

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is pressing the Obama administration to provide Congress with a list of upcoming regulations that will have an economic effect greater than $1 billion.

Boehner’s letter to President Obama Friday comes ahead of planned House votes this fall on GOP legislation that would require congressional approval of major federal regulations.

“This year the Administration’s current regulatory agenda identifies 219 planned new regulations that have estimated annual costs in excess of $100 million each. 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’s letter states.

Boehner is seeking to counter White House claims that the administration is making regulations more business-friendly.

The letter comes three days after the White House announced plans to streamline hundreds of existing regulations across all government departments, saying that the review will “likely” save at least $10 billion over five years.

The plans stem from a January executive order that also called for ensuring that future federal rules, while protecting heath and the environment, also promote growth and use the “least burdensome” tools to achieve their goals.

Boehner’s letter states that the administration failed to respond to an inquiry last year about planned rules that would have an impact greater than $1 billion.

“This information is of great relevance to the American people, who face so much uncertainty about these new regulatory costs, and to the Congress, where we continue to aim to work with you in relieving unnecessary burdens and helping employers move forward to create jobs,” the letter states.

When Congress returns from its August recess, House Republicans plan to take up the “REINS Act” — which stands for Regulations from the Executive In Need of Scrutiny — as part of a broader regulatory rollback agenda.

The bill would require congressional approval of rules that have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more, are likely to result in major increases in costs or prices, or have substantial effects on employment and competitiveness.

House Republicans and some Democrats allege that a suite of planned administration rules are overly aggressive and will hinder the economy, especially a number of planned Environmental Protection Agency regulations.

The White House is currently reviewing EPA’s plan to toughen Bush-era smog standards, a measure that business groups including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Petroleum Institute are pressing the administration to abandon.

But EPA officials have emphasized that their regulations have long provided major public health protections. A June White House report on federal rules found that EPA regulations issued in fiscal 2010 and over the last decade provide benefits that greatly outweigh their costs.