By Benjamin Goad - 10/17/13 06:09 PM EDT
“The administration has been unclear, to put it charitably, about how it plans to regulate entire sectors of the economy,” Reps. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Greg Walden (R-Ore.) wrote in an op-ed published by The Wall Street Journal.
This “regulatory uncertainty,” the lawmakers charge, discourages companies from hiring and hurts productivity.
“But on a broader level, this kind of ad hoc approach to regulating indicates that the president doesn't understand what growth requires,” Upton and Walden write. “The United States has spent the past five years — Mr. Obama's entire presidency — in the economic doldrums because the country's leader can't connect the dots between federal regulatory actions and entrepreneurial investment decisions.”
As an example, the two men point to a draft set of rules issued in September by the Federal Communications Commission, contentious Environmental Protection Agency regulations to limit emissions from power plants, and the raft of rules to be implemented under the Affordable Care Act.
The latter initiative has created a “red-tape jungle” that requires businesses with more than 50 employees to offer health coverage, they said, arguing that the provision acts as a disincentive for firms to hire more people.
Known as the employer mandate, the regulation was initially intended to take effect in January but has been postponed until 2015.
“How many small businesses in America aren't hiring simply because they want to stay under the 50-person cap that triggers the law's employer mandate?” Upton and Walden questioned. “And how many larger businesses have constrained their growth because adding new workers means additional ObamaCare mandated health-care costs?”
The Obama administration has defended its regulatory policies, contending that the net benefits of new regulations over the president’s first term amounted to $91 billion.