by Max Brantley
What do we know? We'd not given much attention to U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin's gimmick legislation splashed across page one of the Democrat-Gazette this morning because 1) it's not going to pass the Senate and 2) it's been derided as nothing but a political ploy by a broad spectrum of commentators, including a former Republican congressman and a former economist for the Reagan and Bush 1 administration.
I did note that DINO Rep. Mike Ross, already hard at work as a quasi-lobbyist for the electric power industry, threw in with a dozen other DINOs to vote for Griffin's legislation to prevent implementation of new federal regulation until the unemployment rate drops to 6 percent (now at 8.2 percent). The Chamber of Commerce likes it because it would increase its members' retained profits, though not put anyone back to work.
Republican Griffin's Democratic opponent, Herb Rule, weighs in today with many of the good reasons to see the legislation as the farce it is, among them that the freeze on federal regulation could actually harm implementation of rules useful to people in Arkansas — such as health and veterans benefits and the duck hunting season.
His release follows:
Yesterday, House Republicans passed a do-nothing bill that will prevent the President from fighting unemployment. Herb Rule said, “All Americans are opposed to over regulation. But you don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.
Griffin’s bill has no chance of becoming law because it makes no sense and would do crazy things like (1) stop the scheduling of new increases in vets benefits, (2) prevent the fair application of family and medical leave for military personnel, (3) prevent doctors from being paid fair fees for treating seniors and the disabled, and (4) prevent setting dates and limits for Arkansas’s migratory bird hunting seasons.
Griffin’s bill will do nothing to help Arkansans get work and support their families. It’s just a smoke screen for his failure to help real people.
A lot of Arkansans are out of work and Griffin wants to cut back on helping folks out. It’s absurd to do nothing about unemployment until unemployment is lower. It’s just spitting in the face of the out-of-work to call it a jobs bill.”
Bruce Bartlett, former economist for Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, has said that the idea that cutting regulation will lead to significant job growth is “just nonsense. It’s just made up.”
“This is just Griffin’s last ditch effort to be able to say that he got one bill passed,” Rule said.
For more info on the far reaching implications of this farce, see Written Testimony of Robert Weissman, President, Public Citizen before the Subcommittee on Courts, Commercial and Administrative Law, Committee on Judiciary, U.S. House of Representatives.