This Year in the Regulation Rewind

Dec 11, 2015 Issues: Agriculture, Health Care, Trade, Ways & Means

The end of the year is a time of reflection and anticipation – evaluating what we have accomplished and which goals are still to be achieved. Though the fight against government overreach is ongoing, we have made significant progress this year in our efforts to stand against the Obama administration’s regulatory agenda and cut through red tape for Nebraskans.  

In 2014, I launched an initiative called Regulation Rewind to identify federal rules which hurt economic growth, limit opportunities for rural Americans, are inconsistent with the law, or are unfair. With your input, I have continued to take action against many onerous regulations this year and provided regular updates on my website at AdrianSmith.house.gov/RegulationRewind.

After hearing concerns from hundreds of Nebraskans regarding the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Waters of the U.S. rule, or WOTUS, I introduced a resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act in July to block this harmful overreach. The companion resolution recently passed the Senate, and the next step is consideration in the House.

Over the summer, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a memo increasing regulatory costs on thousands of anhydrous ammonia retailers by forcing them to comply with the Process Safety Management of Highly Hazardous Chemicals (PSM) standard from which they were previously exempt. Anhydrous ammonia is the most common source of nitrogen for farmers, and a number of Nebraskans have contacted me about the threat this arbitrary rule change poses to their farms and businesses. In late October, I joined 38 colleagues in sending a letter to Labor Secretary Thomas Perez to ask the agency to rescind the memo and utilize a formal rulemaking process to allow those impacted by any potential changes to be heard.

To decrease regulatory barriers for American businesses in the global marketplace, today I voted in favor of the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act. This legislation modernizes and streamlines our U.S. customs system to improve exporting. The bill also prohibits President Obama from using trade agreements to negotiate costly greenhouse gas emissions rules.

Burdensome regulations continue to impact rural Americans’ access to quality health care. Earlier this year, I reintroduced the Critical Access Hospital Relief Act to repeal the 96-hour precertification requirement. This arbitrary regulation requires physicians at small hospitals to certify Medicare and Medicaid patients will not stay more than 96 hours. I had the opportunity to invite Shannon Sorensen, CEO of Brown County Hospital in Ainsworth, to testify before the Ways and Means Committee in June about the difficulties rural hospitals face due to this rule.

In September, I joined my Ways and Means Committee colleagues in passing reconciliation legislation to repeal a series of significant Obamacare regulations, including the individual mandate and the employer mandate. Without these core provisions, the law would likely crumble under its own regulatory weight. An amended reconciliation bill passed the Senate at the beginning of this month, and the House is expected to vote on it by the end of the year.

Through Caseworker in Your Community events and mobile offices, my staff and I have been able to help hundreds of Nebraskans cut through federal red tape. We also hosted our annual Senior Services Fairs in Scottsbluff and Grand Island this fall to ensure seniors and their families have access to the best information available on Medicare and Social Security.

Looking toward 2016, I am optimistic about opportunities for more success in rolling back regulations and will continue working on behalf of Nebraskans to lift these burdens. Thank you for partnering with me in this important effort.