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House Republicans To Focus On Repealing Environmental, Labor Regulations

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ERIC CANTOR GOP AGENDA JOBS
AP File

WASHINGTON — The House Republican agenda this fall will focus on repealing environmental and labor regulations that GOP lawmakers say are driving up the cost of doing business and discouraging employers from hiring new workers.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., says in a memo to his fellow Republicans that as soon as Congress returns to Washington next week he will start bringing up bills to repeal or restrict federal regulations. He also said the House would also act on a small business tax deduction.

The memo was released Monday.

The GOP approach to job creation comes as President Barack Obama prepares to announce after Labor Day a broad jobs package expected to include tax cuts, infrastructure projects and help for the unemployed.

"By pursuing a steady repeal of job-destroying regulations, we can help lift the cloud of uncertainty hanging over small and large employers alike, empowering them to hire more workers," Cantor said in his memo.

He said that in the first week after Congress returns from its August recess the House will vote on a bill preventing the National Labor Relations Board from restricting where an employer can locate in the United States.

The bill is in response to an NLRB lawsuit against Boeing Co. claiming that the manufacturer violated labor law in opening up a new airplane production line in South Carolina. The agency alleged that Boeing was punishing workers in Washington state for past strikes and wants the company to return the work to Washington. Boeing denies the claims.

The next week the House will consider a bill to delay implementation of new Environmental Protection Agency emission and air pollution rules for utility plants until the full impact of the Obama administration's regulatory agenda has been studied. Cantor said the new rules could drive up electricity bills in many parts of the country by 12 to 24 percent.

Also on the agenda are new EPA emission rules for boilers that Cantor said could put 200,000 jobs at risk and similar regulations for cement and coal ash.

Later in the year Republicans will take a look at regulations in the new health care law and are ready to take action to counter expected EPA rulemaking on ozone pollution, farm dust and greenhouse gas.

Since taking control of the House last January, Republicans have passed numerous bills easing restrictions on energy development or increasing general scrutiny over federal rulemaking. But except for one measure to eliminate tax-related red tape in the health care law, the Democratic-controlled Senate has ignored the House legislation.

The office of House minority leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., issued a statement saying the GOP "no-jobs" agenda was in response to Republican strategists warning that their concentration on cutting spending could lose independent voters. It said the agenda would drive jobs overseas, impede worker rights to organize and jeopardize clean air and water.

Cantor said the GOP jobs agenda will also include repeal of a rule, to begin in 2013, requiring federal, state and local government to withhold 3 percent of all government payments made to contractors in excess of $100 million and a proposal allowing small businesses to take a tax deduction equal to 20 percent of their income.

The 3 percent withholding requirement was included in a 2005 tax bill and designed to prevent business tax evasion. It was originally supposed to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2011 but was pushed back, first to 2012 and then to 2013.

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