2012 Legislative Agenda : USPS, Elections Force Hands
"A lot of small businesses pay taxes on their corporations at the individual rate, so it's not just the Warren Buffets that are affected by the treatment of the upper tax rates."
Three primary regulatory agencies—the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)—tend to take on an activist slant and help further the president's agenda when items can't get past the House of Representatives, Lyon notes. However, the administration can take it through the back door via the Big Three.
It is the era of gridlock in Washington. President Obama may have a piece of regulatory legislation he would like to see enacted, but it lacks support in the Republican-controlled House. Thus, one of the regulatory agencies can introduce new rules to achieve the same goal, causing Republicans to accuse the agencies of overreaching and usurping Congressional authority.
For example, Lyons points out that card check legislation, not even on the radar screen of the House, was revived by the NLRB through an "ambush elections" rule it issued. In short, the rule aimed at accelerating union organizing elections. In late November, the House voted 235-188 to pass the Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act (H.R. 3094) to counter what it views as a rule promoting employer/employee imbalance.
Of a more general nature, the House passed the REINS (Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny) Act to exercise more regulatory control over the agencies. The bill would apply to regulations with an expected economic impact of $100 million or more. With Democrats holding an advantage in the Senate, a vote here is not likely. But 23 Dem seats are up for re-election.
The down side of the bill is that up to 100 major regulations are passed each year, and piling these on to the Congressional workload may add oversight protections at the expense of meaningful regulations. However, supporters would point out that excessive regulation exacts a financial toll on business, consumers and the economy at a time when added costs are intolerable.