Regulation Rewind Update

May 23, 2014 Issues: Agriculture, Economy, Small Business

Earlier this year, I announced my Regulation Rewind project with the goal of identifying and addressing government-imposed burdens on the Third District.  I continue to hear from Nebraskans about the rules, laws, and bureaucratic obstacles in their lives and livelihoods, and we have taken action.

For example, I recently met with a small brewing company in our district.  Like other breweries distilleries, and ethanol producers, this company regularly sells or donates its spent grains as livestock feed.  Grain byproducts from these facilities are a cost-effective and nutritious source of animal feed which would otherwise go to waste.  However, a new rule proposed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) could force the end of this mutually beneficial practice.

The so called “Animal Food Rule” would subject these facilities to costly and unnecessary regulations, and increase feed prices for livestock growers.  Rather than disrupt the feed industry, I joined my colleagues in the Nebraska delegation in writing to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg requesting an exemption for breweries, distilleries, ethanol producers, and human food producers.  We all agree on the importance of food and feed safety, but this one-size-fits-all approach would cause more harm than good and FDA has agreed to reexamine this proposed rule.

I have also heard from members of Nebraska banks and credit unions about the implementation of Basel III rules.  These rules are part of an international agreement on financial regulations and capital requirements agreed to in the aftermath of the financial crisis of 2008-2009. 

However, small community banks and credit unions are not to blame for the financial crisis, and these new rules would disproportionately hurt these organizations by requiring them to raise additional capital in ways their structure would not allow.

In response, I have joined Members of Congress from both parties in writing to the Chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Chair of the Federal Reserve, the Comptroller of the Currency, and the Chairman of the National Credit Union Administration Board to request the implementation of Basel III rules be reconsidered for small banks and credit unions. 

Community banks and credit unions play an important role in our local economies.  Applying the same standard to small organizations as large organizations will limit their ability to serve Nebraskans.

These are two of the many examples of how I am turning your concerns into action.  Regulations on animal feed and financial requirements may not grab many headlines, but these issues have a direct impact on our economy.  Please continue to contact my office with your examples for the Regulation Rewind project.  With your help I am committed to reversing the red tape, regulations, and burdens created by an overreaching and oversized federal government.