Republicans Bash Fed Regulations; Democrats Bash GOP

Gov. Bill Haslam, Economic Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty, the state’s two U.S. Senators and a trio of congressmen teamed up Monday in Murfreesboro for a concerted Republican critique of federal regulations. Democrats responded with a critique of the Republiican gathering.
A sampler of the some of the media attention:
From TNReport: State officials are paving the way for job growth at the state level, but there’s nothing more they can do when the federal government issues piles of regulations that discourage economic development, Commissioner Bill Hagerty told the U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
From The Tennessean: The Environmental Protection Agency, the National Labor Relations Board, the Dodd-Frank financial reform law, and the Affordable Care and Patient Protection Act came in for the most criticism. U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa, who chaired the hearing, framed it as a preview of regulations that could be scaled back if Republicans take control of the Congress and the White House in the fall.
From the Nashville Business Journal: “As a country, we need to be moving in exactly the opposite direction,” U.S. Sen. Bob Corker told members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
From WPLN: Rep. Diane Black laid into rules from the Environmental Protection Agency, saying they can cost billions, without much benefit. “Rolling back the costly and unnecessary regulations is imperative to jumpstart our economy and provide certainty for our job creators.”
That put Senator Lamar Alexander in an awkward spot. Lately Alexander hasn’t gone along with colleagues trying to undo new clean-air rules for coal plants. He argues keeping Tennessee’s air clean is vital to recruiting jobs, even though he’s not a huge fan of the EPA either. “Even a stopped clock can be right twice a day, and on these two clean-air rules I think they are right for Tennessee.”

From the Chattanooga TFP: About the same time as Republicans’ event at Middle Tennessee State University, DesJarlais’ Democratic opponent, Eric Stewart, held a much smaller, seven-person roundtable in downtown Murfreesboro at Pa Bunk’s Natural Market and Cafe. Stewart, along with the businessmen, farmers and students, discussed ways to help small businesses and protect federal student aid. Several said some types of regulations are necessary to protect people’s health or consumers.
Stewart described DesJarlais’ event as “a lot of folks coming down from Washington, and, as I understand, it’s pretty partisan. “We’re not going to do that.”

News release from state Democratic Party:
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — Chip Forrester, chairman of the Tennessee Democratic Party, rebuked Rep. Scott DesJarlais and congressional Republicans for their taxpayer-funded “political sideshow” at Middle Tennessee State University on Monday. DesJarlias, along with Reps. Darrell Issa, Rep. Diane Black, Sens. Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander, appeared at the field hearing in Murfreesboro.
“Scott DesJarlais’ political sideshow at MTSU is nothing more than a shallow act of self-promotion to obscure the fact he has failed to create jobs and protect our working and middle-class families,” Forrester said. “This pathetic political theater is just a shameless attempt to campaign on the job. DesJarlais is once again unnecessarily wasting our tax dollars and insulting our intelligence.”
Scott DesJarlais is on record as not caring about taxpayers footing the bill to promote him. In his first year in Congress, he spent over $282,000 on mailings, the fourth-highest amount in the House of Representatives.
“Scott DesJarlais will go to any length to self-promote, but he refuses to do his job and promote economic growth for Tennessee,” said Forrester.
Scott DesJarlais is one of Congress’ Top Spenders. Scott DesJarlais spent $224,000 for the last quarter of 2011, and $282,385 for all of 2011. [Chattanooga Times-Free Press, 3/13/2012]
Businesses Say “Lagging Demand” — Not Burdensome Regulation — Accounts for Nearly Half of Mass Layoffs. Many Tennessee companies say lack of customer demand — not government regulation — remains their No. 1 obstacle to hiring. reports: “Lagging demand by consumers accounted for nearly half of mass layoffs in the third quarter of 2011, while government regulations accounted for less than 1 percent, according to the Labor Department’s most recent figures.” [, 1/20/12]
“It’s simply a demand issue at this point for us. When we have more demand in the marketplace, we’ll begin to hire again.” — Thomas Ryan, spokesman for Memphis-based International Paper. [, 1/20/12]
“There really aren’t any regulations or issues other than just having the need to increase production. It’s all based on demand more than anything.” — Andre Gist, CEO at MIG, a Lexington-based auto-parts manufacturer with five operations across Tennessee. [, 1/20/12]

Gov. Bill Haslam’s Regulatory Reform Report: Tennessee ‘Does Not’ Have ‘Specific Problems With Individual Regulations.’ Straight from the Regulatory Reform Report released in January, “Much of the input that was received during this process indicated that Tennessee does not have the specific problems with individual regulations that plague other states in our country…” [Regulatory Reform Report, 1/6/12]

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