At The Atlantic, Philip K. Howard highlights several solutions to obsolete laws. In one part, Howard highlights Geoff Davis’ REINS Act, offering a more common sense alternative:
Under a bill being drafted by Sen. Warner, agencies could not impose a new regulation unless they first eliminated old regulations of equal cost. The advantage of this proposal is that it introduces into the bureaucratic culture the necessity of budgeting regulation. Britain has a similar law, which has thus far proven effective at cutting costs and slowing the pace of new regulation. Another proposal, the so-called REINS Act introduced by Rep. Geoff Davis (R-KY), would require congressional approval for any regulation with a projected economic impact of $100 million or more. But this proposal does nothing to clean out old regulations. The probable effect, as both critics and supporters suggest, is regulatory paralysis: in the current partisan environment, there would be no major new rules.
People are naturally fearful of change, but we don’t really have a choice. Better to confront the inevitability head on. Other countries have government agencies that do this job — in Germany, for example, the Federal Ministry of Justice makes sure statutes work together in a coherent way. South Korea has an entire cabinet-level department, the Ministry of Government Legislation, which works continuously to improve existing legal structures. And New Zealand rewrote from scratch many of its major federal laws — including environmental, tax, occupational safety and health statutes — in the late ’80s and early ’90s.
One way or another, America will have to confront the waste and inefficiency caused by obsolete laws. These proposals above provide a menu of possible frameworks that would compel Congress and regulatory agencies to rethink old law and make new choices.
Not only did Kentucky House and Senate leaders screw up the state legislature redistricting, they appear to have hit a dead end on the mandated 10-year re-draw of Congressional districts.
The House favored a bill which would have strengthened Ben Chandler in the 6th (after he eked out a 600 vote victory, one vote per precinct, in 2010) and bettered Dem chances in the 1st and 5th while making the already Awesome 3rd even more Awesome.
The Senate Republicans, on the other hand, sought to maintain the Republican strength in the 1st, 2nd, 4th and 5th, and attack Chandler in the 6th.
House leader Greg Stumbo and 5th District porker Hal Rogers came up with something of a compromise, House Republican leader Jeff Hoover was kinda on board, but the Senate Republicans weren’t having it, especially Damon Thayer who, having already tried to disenfranchise the voters of Fayette County, mitched and boehned about a perceived “damage” to Fayette by allowing the 6th to get Bluer.
The filing deadline for Congressional seats, already extended a week, was today.
The House and Senate failed to reach a compromise Tuesday on a new congressional redistricting plan as the filing deadline passed — and House Speaker Greg Stumbo said legislators likely won’t try to change the current district lines this session.
He conceded, however, that such an approach would likely be ruled unconstitutional if challenged in court.
A decade after the current lines were drawn, the districts vary considerably in population — in violation of court standards — and Stumbo said he didn’t believe they would withstand scrutiny.
Should a candidate (Barr, etc) or a national party (GOP, etc) challenge the lack of new districting, Stumbo thinks the courts will just do the drawing.
Four of Kentucky’s five incumbent congressmen will have no opposition in the state’s May 22 primary.
And Rep. John Yarmuth, D-3rd District, is facing only a perennial candidate, Burrel Charles Farnsley, as a primary opponent and a relatively unknown Republican, Brooks Wicker, for the general election, according to filings in the Kentucky secretary of state’s office. The filing deadline was Tuesday.
The 1st (Whitfield) has two Dems in the Primary, the 2nd (Guthrie) is probably already over, the 5th (Rogers) possibly bought and paid for, and the 6th a grudge match between Garland Barr and Ben Chandler.
McConnell is staying “10,000 miles away from any sort of primary” — in the words of one ally — after he backed former Kentucky secretary of State Trey Grayson’s unsuccessful campaign against Rand Paul, who went on to become Kentucky’s junior senator.
“That’s a mistake you only make once,” an ally said of McConnell decision to support Grayson over Paul, a Tea Party favorite.Specifically, McConnell is not about to wade in the primary to replace retiring Rep. Geoff Davis (R-Ky.), which could draw a bid from a senior Paul staffer.
They go on to run through the various candidates and potential candidates for KY-4.
It’s hard to believe Mitch will actually stay out of it because it’s hard to believe Mitch. In fact, anyone in the Tea Party who thinks they’ve taught Mitch a lesson is dumber than one might generally assume.
Still, it’s sad that Mitch, one of the most powerful figures in national politics, is actually somewhat impotent in the state party he should fully control.
Oh yes, I will speculate quite a bit on that one, thank you very much.
Here was my most immediate thought: Sen. Damon Thayer is immediately changing his redistricting maps to move Scott County into the 4th District. He would love to be a Congressman, and this means that he won’t have to secretly root for Andy Barr to lose this year and quietly wait his turn to take on Ben Chandler in 2014 or 2016.
There’s much more, big and little names on both sides… the possibilities are endless but you won’t want to miss Joe’s big prognostication.
Who knows, right? It could be, like, literally anybody.
And… if you want more 4th District fun, Ryan Alessi (the George Clooney of Kentucky political reporters) has much more.
In our ongoing mission to prove that a nation of 300,000,000+ is actually controlled by a single state of 3,000,000 generally maligned and overlooked people, today offers something of a victory.
President Obama is trying to give working people a tax cut by way of the payroll tax extension. The Republican Party is fighting this, and leading their fight is the Congressional Delegation of the Great State of Kentucky!
First of all, we had Rand Paul opposing lower middle class taxes on the argument that they would drain funds from a federal government program he already wants to dismantle. This makes no sense. A) because it’s not true; B) because were it true, Rand Paul should be in favor of it.
Then, more seriously — because even his own party rarely takes Rand Paul seriously, it seems — you’ve got the latest Republican attempt to block a millionaire tax hike while simultaneously killing a middle class tax cut. This movement is led in the Senate by Mitch McConnell, our senior Senator and the minority leader and it is coupled with Ed Whitfield’s Keystone XL Pipeline project that does little for the state of Kentucky but much for big energy interests.
Whitfield, Kentucky’s 1st District Congressman, is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Energy and Power and through that position has been fighting for the Keystone XL Pipeline for months. The pipeline threatens great damage (here, here) to the heartland’s water system and offers questionable rewards outside some big profits for some well-off energy barons. The President recently delayed any decision on the pipeline until 2013. Last week, Whitfield in the House and McConnell in the Senate both introduced legislation seeking to force the President’s hand in a give-away to their energy overlords.
On Wednesday of this week, they came up with a better idea. The House payroll tax bill is now leaden with Ed’s XL Pipeline mandate in effort to either derail the tax cut for the middle class or force the pipeline on America.
House Republicans hope they’ve struck gold — black gold — by marrying the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline to the president’s payroll tax cut.
….“We’re going to push now. We think it’s important. The president’s being political and we need to create jobs,” said Rep. Ed Whitfield, a Kentucky Republican who chairs an Energy and Commerce subcommittee.
Or as our orange neighbor across a decrepit bridge says:
The bill — called the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2011 —is nearly 370 pages, and includes peripheral issues such as restarting the stalled Keystone XL pipeline project, altering of environmental regulations and the selling of broadband spectrum.
“This package does not include everything Republicans would like, nor does it have all that Democrats have called for,” House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said in a Friday statement. “But it is a win for the American people and worthy of the president’s signature.”
A win for the American people would be lower taxes on the middle class, clean water and a reasonable tax on the super-wealthy. Boner is being disingenuous — really, this is a win-win for the GOP… either they raise taxes on the middle class while protecting the rich or they get a big win for big energy.
House Republicans on Friday brought forward legislation that would extend the Social Security payroll tax cut through 2012 and trim extra benefits for the long-term unemployed.
The measure invites a year-end clash with President Barack Obama and Democrats by including language that would pave the way for construction of a controversial oil pipeline.
….The newer measure would be financed by cutting federal workforce salaries, requiring higher earning elderly people to pay more for Medicare and raising some federal fees. But it ignores the higher taxes on the rich that Democrats would use to cover the costs of their proposal.
Ed Whitfield — who was named one of the Top 15 Friends of Polluters in Congress — long ago made it clear where his true intentions are. While Mitch McConnell’s money-quote (“The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.”) has gotten a lot of play, Ed Whitfield’s similar moment of honesty has gone largely unnoticed:
“We want to keep passing things on the House side that would reverse things EPA is doing simply because we’d like to see those 22 Democratic senators up for re-election next year vote on some of this.”
So again we see that not only is the Republican Party not interested in getting America back to work, not only are they more interested in just making matters worse under the destructive but perhaps accurate belief that that’s the only way they can win an election, but also that it is Kentucky’s Republican delegation leading this ridiculous battle.
While we’re on the subject, it’s also worth pointing out the the GOP’s #1 Jobs Plan passed the House on Wednesday. That bill doesn’t do anything to create jobs but does seek to weaken government health and safety regulations. And that bill is the work of another Kentucky Congressman, Mr. Geofferson Davis.
As DownWithTyranny points out, the House of Representatives passed the Regulatory Flexibility Act last Thursday. The vote was 263 to 159, with no Republicans voting against and 28 Democrats voting in favor. One of those Dems was our own Ben Chandler.
The RFA is one of three anti-regulation bills the House GOP is using to strip safety protections — the primary one being Geofferson Davis’ REINS Act — under the guise of “job creation.” Basically (and you’ll be shocked by this) the Republican Party (and their Democratic co-conspirators) are using America’s economic collapse to roll back the rules that keep corporations from poisoning us.
Former Congressman Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY) wrote of these three bills:
The Republican Party should be spending its time trying to improve what is basically an effective system, figuring out how to improve protections and reduce costs. But the House is off on a very different path, ignoring experience in favor of ideology, working to destroy a system that has protected business as well as the public. It’s high time for those in the center to call them on that.
Current Congressman John Conyers (D-MI) wrote of the Regulatory Flexibility Act:
Rounding out the trio of public safety killing legislation is H.R. 527, the “Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act of 2011.” Under current law, rulemaking agencies must make an analysis for every new rule that would have significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities, such as small businesses. Among other things, this bill repeals the authority of an agency to waive or delay this analysis in response to an emergency that makes compliance or timely compliance impracticable.
So if there is an epidemic of E. coli or listeria infection caused by some item in our nation’s food distribution network, or if there is an imminent environmental disaster that could be addressed systemically through regulation, this bill says “Don’t worry. Don’t rush.”
My conservative colleagues argue that this legislation is necessary because too much regulation is responsible for our nation’s current economic difficulties. They must be suffering from some collective form of amnesia. It was not too much regulation of Wall Street that led to the near collapse of the worldwide marketplace. It was not too much regulation that caused the BP oil spill. And, it was not too much regulation that allowed mortgage brokers, servicers, bankers and others to engage in predatory lending and falsify foreclosure documents in court proceedings.
Current Congressman Ben Chandler (R-KY) wrote of his vote in favor of this bill:
Superfail on the Committee. The 13th member, Grover Norquist, today rejoices.
In all, 270 members of Congress — from Mitch McConnell at the top all the way down to the lowliest members, like Ben Chandler — have signed his “No Tax Raises Ever” pledge, which meant that building any sort of a compromise in the Supercommittee was all but impossible, even though it is obviously good economics to repeal the Bush Tax Cuts for the Super Wealthy (and also popular with the electorate).
Here’s some Grover highlights, if you’re not familiar, in which he likens any Republican who might betray him and his pledge as “a rat head in a Coke bottle”:
There are ads on this site. Sometimes they are particularly fun. Like today — a reader emails this screen shot of an ad they encountered this morning:
Well that seems fun! So we clicked the link (which you don’t have to do) to find out how Ben’s doing and according to whom.
Turns out its the Heritage Institute’s score card. And the conservative think tank thinks our loveable anti-environment, EPA-destroying, anti-women’s rights, anti-regulation of Wall Street, anti-health care reform Congressman is only 21% conservative. Which we’ve pointed out in August. And of course in September, Republican Congressman Geofferson Davis lashed out at Heritage, calling it “a worthless organization.”
To be fair to our advertisers, the Heritage Foundation isn’t actually worthless… first of all, they advertise here!, and second of all they hid at least $680,000 in payments to Clarence Thomas’s wife (or Clarence hid it, I can’t keep up with conservatives).
So from B&P to our advertiser of the day, the conservative Heritage Institute — a heartfelt thanks. You’re not worthless at all. Thanks for investing in us.
Kentucky Congressman Geofferson Davis — relation unclear to the Confederate Slave Advocate President who lead the war to kill 600,000 Americans — got his Republican “jobs plan” one step closer to dying in the Senate today as his REINS Act passed out of Committee.
The plan purports to put the reins on the safety regulations that keep corporations from poisoning and killing us (Get it? Reins? Like a horse maybe, or a ball-gag.) and, because the GOP has nothing actually going for it — no real ideas — “creates jobs.” Because if you die, that creates a job, see.
The House Judiciary Committee cleared a bill today that would require Congress to sign off on federal regulations that Republicans say threaten job creation and cost millions to comply with.
….The bill “is an urgently needed antidote to this anti-democratic sentiment,” Smith said in prepared remarks. “It gives the people’s representatives in Congress the final say on whether Washington will impose major new regulations on the American economy, not unaccountable agency officials.”
Bob Deans at the Natural Resources Defense Council writes:
This is the same Congress, remember, that has yet to pass a fiscal 2012 budget, eight months after it was introduced. The REINS Act would permit members to kill needed environmental rules just by dragging their feet a few weeks.
And, what was the justification? Jobs, of course.
“We must put a stop to the reckless and costly anti-free market regulations that are destroying jobs,” said Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., co-sponsor of companion REINS act legislation in the Senate.
It’s a crafty strategy. With 14 million Americans out of work, we’re in the worst jobs market since Ronald Reagan was president. The “job-killing” message resonates.
There is, though, one problem: it’s not true. Government regulations — of all kinds — accounted for just two-tenths of one percent of the half-million Americans who lost their jobs in the first six months of the year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
By global standards, in fact, the United States has the most business-friendly regulatory structure of any major country in the world, according to the International Finance Corporation, the World Bank arm that helps countries improve their business practices and investment climate.
The Republican Party is framing every piece of ridiculous legislation they present in terms of “job creation” these days. That’s what sells. The other thing that sells is the Republican Party and it’s sad to see Americans buying into this idea that if they are less safe then somehow, magically, they will be more safe or at least employed. Because who doesn’t want a job? And if a kid’s gotta get poisoned so you can get that job… who cares, right? There are lots of kids and there’s only one you.
So the Republican Party is following Kentucky’s lead. I can’t stress this enough:
Mitch McConnell obfuscates America’s economic recovery in the Senate, Hal Rogers chokes it off as the head of Appropriations in the House, Rand Paul drives the country further toward crazyville, Ed Whitfield works meticulously to destroy the EPA from his own leadership position in the House and Geofferson Davis is pushing this “REINS” Act, the national Republican Party’s #1 “Jobs Creation” idea which creates no jobs and makes the entire country less safe.
Sitting on a porch on this beautiful Kentucky evening in the color of fall leaves, it’s easy to question what’s wrong with us, why we send these people to our Capital to represent us.
The harder question, though, is why America puts up with us. A state of 3 Million people is dictating the future of this country, of 300+ Million Americans. We have no say in Presidential politics, but between the House and the Senate, we own you.
There was a good story out over the weekend that serves as a friendly reminder to any Kentucky Dems still stubbornly denying their own party is controlled by global-warming deniers and environmental enemies. (No, really, some of them are still out there, insisting that Ben and Steve deserve our support and usually they get very defensive when you mention this topic. It’s sad.)
The Environmental Protection Agency has shouldered much of the blame from Kentucky politicians for the struggling economy during the 2011 campaigns.
Both Democrats and Republicans have criticized the EPA for what they see as job-inhibiting regulations.
The refusal of 19 mine permits in eastern Kentucky prompted Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear to plead with President Obama – both in person and through a letter -to relax EPA policies to relax EPA policies to allow the mines to open.
Let’s pause here for a moment.
For as great as this article is, it’s taken Governor Beshear’s word for the fact that he “pleaded” (like, down on his knees with tears streaking his face and his hands clutched together in subservience?) with President Obama “in person.”
As we have already pointed out here, only the most gullible person could actually believe Governor Beshear’s wildly unlikely story about giving Barry O the what-for — in just about 90 seconds, Beshear claims (lies, really) he insulted the President’s intelligence, told the President a bunch of stuff about infrastructure the President already knows, accused him of being an ineffective leader (pot, kettle, if ever there was…) and then started yelling at the President about the EPA. [Read all about it.]
If that story actually happened the way Beshear claims it did, he wouldn’t deserve your vote because everything expressed is offensive to your personal beliefs but instead because to cover all that in 90 seconds with the President of the United States, Steve would have to be out of his gourd crazy, a screeching, fast-talking wild-eyed beast not fit for office.
But. Enough about all that. Let’s get back to the article about the Dems colluding with the GOP to poison you by rolling back EPA regulations and environmental protections because the EPA and the Muslim President are killing all our jobs:
But reports from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and other organizations show government regulations account for a small portion of job losses.
Ohhhh. Oh. Wait. So both the Republican Party and the Kentucky Democratic Party are lying or stupid. That’s reassuring.
Let’s hear from each of you!
The furor over the EPA and other federal regulations will only get louder, said U.S. Rep Geoff Davis, R-Hebron.
“I think the battle of regulations is a turning point over what America will become,” Davis said. “American people have lost transparency in the reach of the regulatory state.”
Davis, of course, is the draintrust behind the REINS Act, the GOP’s #1 “Jobs” Bill that does nothing to create jobs but does a lot to poison our air, poison our water and increase corporate profits.
Both candidates for attorney general, Republican Todd P’Pool and Democratic incumbent Jack Conway, have said they believe the EPA has overstepped its bounds in Kentucky…..
“The EPA says your runoff has to be the equivalent of distilled bottled water,” P’Pool said. “That’s like suggesting the speed limit should be 5 miles per hour.”
Conway said he’s already challenged the EPA on several issues, including filing suit in 2009 against the EPA’s attempt to regulate carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas.
The article grazes over Rand Paul next, but everyone knows where Rand stands on this issue, so let’s skip ahead…
[Bruce Scott, commissioner for the Department of Environmental Protection] and Kentucky Coal Association president Bill Bissett testified this week before state legislators on the detrimental impact the delay of these permits has on Kentucky.
….The EPA found few allies among the state legislators at the hearing this week. “It is clear what their agenda is,” said Rep. Jim Gooch, D-Providence. “Their agenda is to stop coal mining.”
That’s good. Governor Beshear’s appointed Environmental “Protection” czar is hanging with King Coal. Way to go, KDP! Let’s all pat ourselves on the backs.
Hmm. Backs. Oh, right. It’s that time again:
You may want to read the rest of the article, especially if you’re a damned fool who’s been elected to public office and keeps on insisting that getting rid of the protections that keep people safe and alive will some how create jobs. It’s farcical, but that’s what our Democratic and Republican leaders are claiming.