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Thune Discusses Biden’s Extreme Use of Regulatory Power

“Suffice it to say that President Biden has made use of the regulatory system to advance an agenda that will negatively affect our nation.”

March 16, 2023

Click here to watch the video.

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) today discussed how President Biden has used the federal regulatory system to advance a far-left agenda that will negatively affect families, farmers, and small business owners. Thune noted that he will continue to push back against President Biden’s burdensome regulations and fight to overturn the heavy-handed regulatory hurdles the administration has put in place.

Thune’s remarks below (as prepared for delivery):


“Mr. President, when it comes to the actions of government, it’s often legislation that grabs the headlines.


“But it’s equally important to be aware of what a presidential administration does with its regulatory power.


“With the modern expansion of the regulatory state, presidents have a tremendous amount of power to affect our economy and federal policy through regulation.


“And President Biden has made aggressive use of regulatory power to push his agenda – and burden our economy in the process.


“President Biden’s big-spending habits are well-known:


“The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan spending spree he signed into law.


“The trillions of dollars in new government spending he’s proposed and pushed for over the course of his administration.


“But his carelessness with taxpayer dollars is not limited to legislative initiatives.


“President Biden has also pushed through regulations costing almost $360 billion – and requiring 220 million hours of paperwork.


“220 million hours of paperwork.


“That’s a big compliance burden, Mr. President.


“And a good reminder of the fact that regulations have consequences.


“Consequences for individual Americans.  Consequences for American businesses.  And consequences for our economy.


“Take the Biden administration’s proposed rule to require federal contractors to disclose their direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions – and, in some cases, not only their own direct and indirect emissions but also related emissions over which the contractor has no control.


“This rule is not only impractical – it’s unclear how contractors would even begin to gauge emissions over which they have no control – but it’s likely to be both costly and burdensome.


“By the government’s own reckoning the rule would cost affected small businesses more than $600 million over its first 10 years.  


“And the National Federation of Independent Business notes that the actual cost is likely to be much higher.


“With compliance costs like this, why would any small business want to apply for a federal contract?


“And this is just one of a number of costly regulations the Biden administration has put in place – or is attempting to put in place – to advance its extreme environmental agenda.


“A new rule from the Environmental Protection Agency that will require a drastic reduction in nitrogen oxide emissions from heavy-duty vehicles is not only likely to substantially raise the price of new trucks, it could drive some smaller trucking companies out of business entirely – which would be problematic at any time but is especially problematic given the supply chain problems we’re still experiencing.


“A proposed rule to prohibit the sale of cooktops that consume more than a certain amount of energy per year would likely make roughly half of the gas stoves currently sold in the United States illegal and could threaten manufacturers with substantial losses – to say nothing of the way it could limit options for Americans, a substantial number of whom opt for gas stoves.


“Then there’s the Obama-era Waters of the United States rule that President Biden’s Environmental Protection Agency resurrected.


“The WOTUS rule would give the federal government sweeping jurisdiction over most water features on private property, including things like irrigation ditches, ephemeral streams, and even prairie potholes.


“The Supreme Court is currently considering a case concerning the federal government’s authority under the Clean Water Act, the outcome of which stands to nullify or make obsolete much of the Biden WOTUS rule.


“But if the WOTUS rule goes into effect, farmers, ranchers, and other private landowners could see parts of their land rendered useless for months while the federal government determines what restrictions to impose.


“Landowners could also be faced with huge compliance costs – and the value of their land could plummet.


“There are also the Biden administration’s oil and gas regulations, which are likely to cost all Americans money by driving up energy prices.


“Despite the need to develop American energy – an economic and national security imperative – this week President Biden announced that he is closing off a substantial part of the Arctic to oil and gas development.


“While I am pleased that he did approve the Willow Project this week, he has undercut that approval with these new restrictions.


“The president’s decision to close off a substantial part of the Arctic will not only restrict areas for energy exploration and development, it’s likely to discourage future energy exploration and development even in unrestricted areas – with a correspondingly harmful effect on energy prices.


“And as if that weren’t enough, yesterday the EPA piled on with another rule that targets electricity production and industry in 23 states and threatens to shut down essential power sources that help guarantee a reliable supply of electricity to American homes and businesses. 


“The high energy prices Americans have experienced so far under the Biden administration – up a staggering 37 percent under his watch – could become a permanent feature of American life if the president continues with policies designed to discourage conventional energy production.


“Mr. President, so far I’ve focused a lot on the economic costs of regulations and the Biden administration’s environmental agenda.


“But of course his environmental agenda is not the only extreme agenda President Biden is pushing through regulations.


“For example, he’s also using his regulatory power to push his extreme abortion agenda.


“The comment period recently closed for a proposed new regulation that could threaten medical professionals’ right to decline to participate in abortions. 


“And in defiance of federal law, which prohibits the VA from providing abortion services, the Biden administration has implemented a rule to use taxpayer dollars to provide abortion counseling and abortion services to individuals served by the VA.


“Mr. President, while presidential administrations have tremendous power to push their agendas – and burden our economy – through regulation, there are things Congress can do to push back against troubling exercises of regulatory power.


“One way is through the Congressional Review Act, which allows Congress to block regulations if it can gather a sufficient number of votes.


“Republicans have put forward a number of Congressional Review Act measures – or CRAs – to block some of the Biden administration’s most problematic regulations. 


“Republicans in the House of Representatives – joined by a handful of Democrats – recently approved a CRA to block the Waters of the United States rule.


“And we will soon take up this measure in the Senate.


“I also expect us to take up a measure in the near future to prevent taxpayer dollars from going to fund abortions at the VA.


“Thanks to Senator Capito, we’ve already managed to block one problematic Biden regulation so far this year.


“Senator Capito announced her intention to challenge a Federal Highway Administration memo – which the Government Accountability Office determined to be a rule – discouraging states from pursuing highway expansion projects and prioritizing funding for projects that reduce emissions.


“And rather than waiting for a congressional vote, the Federal Highway Administration withdrew the memo, issuing a revised version without the problematic language, a win for infrastructure investments in rural areas.


“We are likely to have an uphill battle in Congress when it comes to blocking other problematic Biden administration regulations.


“But Republicans in both houses are committed to doing everything we can to protect Americans. 


“I’m also introducing legislation today to help prevent economically damaging regulations from going into effect.


“My bill, the Regulatory Transparency Act, would require federal agencies to conduct a more transparent and objective analysis of the impact a proposed regulation would have on the economy, especially on small businesses.


“It would also require agencies to justify the need for the regulation and consider other, less burdensome ways of meeting the same goal.


“And, importantly, it would require agencies to consider whether a sunset date for the regulation would be appropriate, which could help reduce the long-term buildup of irrelevant or outdated federal regulations.


“Mr. President, there’s a lot more I could say about the regulations the Biden administration has implemented – or is trying to put in place.


“But I’ll stop here.


“Suffice it to say that President Biden has made use of the regulatory system to advance an agenda that will negatively affect our nation.


“And I will continue to do everything I can to push back against the Biden administration’s many troubling regulations and protect our economy – and the American people – from the regulatory burden the administration has put in place.


“Mr. President, I yield the floor.”