Lions and Cowboys and no Bengals, thankfully Senior Profile: Tyler Horsley North Adams sweeps Manchester Cheer Championships Indians face tough test in first pre-season scrimmage Senior Profile: Abby Faulkner Seas reflects on second state tournament experience NA’s Harper signs to continue hoops career at Rio Grande Hendrickson named Assistant Coach of the Year in Division III girls soccer Take the hint, it’s Thanksgiving time again Small Business Saturday in Adams County Art Council’s newest production will have you ‘laughing through your tears’ North Adams students working to help the homeless Grateful Richard A Graham #SawyerStrong Billy L Smalley Wenstrup announces re-election campaign Delta Dental provides two local schools with new drinking fountains Ernie McFarland honored by Ohio Bankers League Veterans Day parade, ceremony held in West Union Adams County schools celebrate Veterans Day Being the change November: As Mr. Seas it Protecting Ohio seniors from rising healthcare costs It’s November-have some soup and pie SHAC Boys Preview is Nov. 24 at Peebles June Hall Alice B Himes Claudia U Mitchell TRAFFIC ALERT: SR 41 restrictions set for Saturday Jewell Foster Senior Profile: Nicholas Fish SHAC Girls Preview set for Nov. 17 Senior Profile: Lakyn Hupp Again, Lady Devils ousted in district finals ‘Lighting the Serpent’ event is being discontinued Voters favor incumbents at the ballot Arts Council dedicates Buzzardroost Rock mural Heroes in disguise Fighting for future generations in OH2 A few puffs of smoke, and a happy ending Lois Wilson Helen M Hesler Jerry L Dickson Ohio’s Traditional Deer-Gun Hunting Season begins Nov. 27 WWII veteran honored in banner raising ceremony Veteran of three wars honored for volunteer work Charlotte Evans Jason A Barr Why we celebrate Manchester man killed in single-car accident Adams County Election Results – 2017 Hubert Knauff To keep or not to keep Time again for the changing of the seasons November proclaimed as Adoption Recognition and Recruitment Month Local business is seven decades old and counting Local student gets Nashville call Senior Profile: Gabe Grooms Lady Indians fall in districts Quest For The Cup complete for Dragons Meeting a true sports hero WU’s McCarty named District Player of the Year With regional run, Pennywitt completes memorable career West Union eighth grade volleyball finishes as SHAC runner-up Senior Profile: Tray Brand Greyhounds drop home finale, finish at 4-6 Lady Devils fall in district semis Devils go down in district finals Matt Seas headed back to State XC Meet Senior Profile: Charlee Louden Lady Indians ousted in sectional final Lady Devils down Minford 4-1 in district semis North Adams volleyball claims fourth consecutive sectional crown Senior Profile: Brooklyn Howlett Afterschool fun begins at NAES Wearing it pink in October Kenneth L Austin Jay E Minnich Reuben E Hershberger Bobby L Williams 18 years just isn’t long enough Emotional, historic, and victorious Taking action against addiction Utilities commission approves DP&L electric security plan What matters and what doesn’t Oh dear, is that a deer? Junior Gaffin Charlotte J Thatcher Matthew D Miller Megan R Phillips Ralph M Swearingen Linda C Ackley Robert Ralston Shelly Seaman Increased access to treatment, Improving economic opportunity keys to combating Ohio’s Opioid Crisis Seas siblings are again SHAC Cross-Country Champions Lady Hounds cruise to sectional victory Senior Profile: Alyssa Hoskins 101 and another sectional championship

Cutting through red tape to jump start the economy

Recent economic indicators continue to confirm how disappointing our recovery from the 2007-2009 financial crisis has been. In fact, economists say it is the weakest recovery since World War II. In the first quarter of this year, the economy actually shrank by 0.2 percent. The official unemployment rate doesn’t account for the millions of discouraged workers who have given up looking for jobs, dropping the labor force participation rate to its lowest level since 1977. Incomes are flat, even declining on average. Combined with the rising costs of health care (accelerated by the Affordable Care Act), food, electricity, and education, the middle class squeeze is very real. And the American people are feeling the effects.

Millions are struggling just to get by and many working families are wondering when things will finally pick up. It is clear that our economy needs a shot in the arm. One of the reasons the economy has been so sluggish is because of burdensome regulations, many at the federal level, that are overwhelming business owners, stifling investment, and preventing the creation of good paying jobs.

When I travel the state, whether I am listening to construction workers, manufacturers, farmers, health care providers, energy producers or retailers, I hear an overarching theme: government regulations are standing in the way of investing in companies and workers. If we are going to turn things around and create more and better paying jobs, we will need to knock down these unnecessary barriers so that our economy can reach its full potential. With this goal in mind I have offered a series of regulatory reforms that will kick-start our economy and create more opportunities for those who are looking for work.

One of the major roadblocks to jobs right now is our federal permitting process, which is filled with uncertainty, high costs and legal liability. The federal government makes businesses run a gauntlet of review and approvals causing major delays, particularly in the construction and energy industries. Think of an energy project, whether it is oil and gas or solar and wind production, or construction of a new commercial building. It’s not unheard of for a specific project to require dozens of federal permits with little coordination between agencies. These delays and costs have had a negative impact on job creation.

America has fallen behind in this area as other countries have streamlined their permitting and made their projects more attractive to investors. In fact, based on a respected international survey, the United States has fallen to 41st in the world in ability to get a permit to build something. It is long past due to improve the way we authorize permits. Fortunately, I have authored a solution — the Federal Permitting Improvement Act.

This important legislation will streamline the permitting process in three ways. First, it will ensure better coordination by establishing a lead agency to set a permitting timetable and encourage stronger cooperation between state and local permitting authorities. Second, it will foster greater transparency by creating a public, on-line “dashboard” to monitor progress while requiring agencies to accept comments from stakeholders to address public concerns early on. Finally, it installs important litigation reforms by reducing the statute of limitations on lawsuits challenging permitting decisions from 6 years to 2 years.

This is a bipartisan bill that is supported by business, labor, and environmental groups because it is a common sense solution to a problem we desperately need to fix. It passed through the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC) in May with a strong bipartisan vote, and I am hopeful we can get it passed through the full Senate this year.

I also recently introduced the Independent Agency Regulatory Analysis Act, a bill that will rein in the power of independent agencies to declare costly new rules. Most federal agencies are required to weigh the costs and benefits of major regulations. However, independent agencies are immune to those requirements despite regularly issuing regulations with major economic impacts. Examples of independent agencies include the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Security and Exchange Commission, the Federal Communications Commission, and the National Labor Relations Board. These are influential agencies with a lot of control over major sectors of our economy and they should not be exempt from common sense requirements that protect business owners and wage earners. That is why I authored a bipartisan approach to add new accountability measures to correct this gap.

For any new regulation that has an economic impact of $100 million or more, the bill requires the analysis of costs and benefits as well as consideration of any less costly alternative. These analyses will be overseen by the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), which currently does this for all the executive agencies. There is simply no reason to issue new costly regulations if better options exist.

To put it simply, these bills I have authored are about creating new and better paying jobs. It’s time to get rid of unnecessary federal barriers so that businesses can expand and people who are looking for work can finally find it. Reforming the way regulations are created and implemented will help give our weak economy the boost it needs.

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By Rob Portman

United States Senator

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