Emerson Weekly Address: Government... for the People

Date: Feb. 11, 2011
Location: Washington, DC

I take great pride in representing Southern Missouri in the U.S. House of Representatives. It is an honor to have earned the trust of those I represent and I work hard every day to keep it. An important part of my job as a Member of Congress is traveling to the 28 counties that make up the Eighth District to hear firsthand from those I represent. I enjoy visiting with those who live and work in our communities and listening to their challenges and concerns so I can better represent them.

Shared concerns I continue to hear from employers, small businesses, farmers and those working throughout Southern Missouri are the newly imposed burdens hoisted on them by the growing size and scope of our federal government. Burdens placed on our citizens by federal regulations as well as increasing uncertainty are creating significant challenges and barriers to job creation at a time when we should be encouraging economic growth. Unfortunately, these concerns, expressed best during conversations at coffee shops and storefronts across the nation, are often lost on the appointed, isolated officials creating new policies "inside the Beltway."

Take for example the 43 new major regulations the Administration introduced last fiscal year alone. It is estimated these regulations would have cost our economy $26.5 billion. Moreover, a recent report by Senator James Inhofe, of Oklahoma, projected the number of jobs at risk from EPA regulations at 800,000. These regulations represent a significant threat to recent job growth and remain a major source of uncertainty. It is discouraging that when we should be doing everything possible to improve our economic climate, unchecked federal regulatory agencies continue to explore and promulgate new rules and regulations, seemingly answerable only to special interest bureaucrats, not the people who hold the true power of governance.

In last year's House of Representatives, the voice of the people was often ignored. For instance, when EPA proposed expanding the Clean Air Act to unilaterally regulate greenhouse gases, I worked on a bipartisan legislative proposal with Rep. Skelton, of Missouri, and Rep. Peterson, of Minnesota, to stop this unnecessary threat to jobs and our economy. Unfortunately, our proposal to reverse these onerous and regulations was never given consideration. However, November brought change and legislative proposals to reign in harmful regulatory proposals will now be considered.

Last week, the House considered a resolution that directs individual committees to review existing, pending, and proposed regulations with a special emphasis on evaluating their effect on jobs and the economy. Strong accountability is essential to better inform the people and aid their representatives in their effort to halt job destroying regulations; an effort which is likely to lead to the Appropriations Committee and Congress's power of the purse.

No one better understands the effect that unnecessary, burdensome and often duplicative regulations have on Southern Missouri's economy more than our small business owners, farmers, workers and local officials. And think about this, when was the last time you saw a federal regulator visiting your community to listen to your concerns? As Lincoln eulogized the dead at Gettysburg, he recommitted our government to be of, by, and for the people. This House should not hesitate to remind unelected decision makers in government of that fact.