House Action: Week of January 12

January 16, 2015

This week has been extremely disappointing as the House Republicans pushed forward an agenda meant to satisfy their most extreme members. In just two days, the House passed three major pieces of legislation: H.R. 185, the “Regulatory Accountability Act of 2015,” H.R. 37, the “Promoting Job Creation and Reducing Small Business Burdens Act,” and H.R. 240, the “Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2015”.

The Republicans have been endlessly decrying “jobs killing regulations” over the last few years, yet one of the primary causes of job loss has been the reduction of Wall Street regulations that enabled the massive growth of the financial sector speculating in risky government- backed trading.

This sector has grown over the past two decades and now makes up an alarmingly large percentage of our economy. Economic growth depends on healthy competition between businesses through well-devised and fairly enforced regulations to prevent monopolies, keep society safe, and prevent damaging exploitation of our natural resources such as clean air and water.

This is exactly what the current Republicans wish to undo, returning us to the risky behavior on Wall Street and damaging exploitation of our natural resources.  Our nation’s immigration system is badly broken and we must make strong bipartisan efforts to address this issue.

The case in point is the Senate immigration bill passed in the 113th Congress. This bill was a compromise and had enough votes to pass the House, but was denied a vote by the House Speaker bowing to the demands of his extreme members. The failed state of our current immigration system, is illustrated by farm labor shortages, massive deportations, breaking up families, the surge of unaccompanied minors in the summer of 2014, and the growth of the underground economy.

Late last year, President Obama finally decided to show some leadership and issued reasonable directives to prevent the worst deportation abuses. With this background, the stage is set for the legislation passed this week. H.R. 195 added significant obstacles to federal agencies that establish regulations.

Clearly, there needs to be some care in crafting federal regulations, and all regulations must be subject to review and revision or elimination.

However, this legislation makes it nearly impossible to generate new guidelines that could put people’s health, safety, the environment, workplace safety, and stability of the financial system at greater risk. H.R. 37 reduces the protections in the financial sector that were put in place prevent financial abuses that led to the 2008 economic collapse, while forcing the Fed to bail out the “too big to fail” institutions.

House Republicans are attempting to dismantle the Dodd-Frank Act bit-by-bit in the name of job-killing regulations. Nothing could be further from the truth.H.R. 240 is the funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security.

The underlying bill is a reasonable compromise, but the amendments added to the legislation during consideration on the House floor are racist in nature and are completely unacceptable. These amendments unfairly target families and children, among others.

Unfortunately the bill, along with these harmful amendments, passed the House. This amended bill places the partisan interests of House Republicans ahead of the security of the American people.

I certainly hope that as the 114th Congress continues, we can focus our time on bipartisan, commonsense solutions and not on legislation meant to inflame partisan passions, and that the president will clearly veto. I hope that the House Republican leadership can place the best interests of the nation ahead of their partisan goals.