Crusading against government regulations has been a favorite pastime of House Republicans this session of Congress, and now, there's longtime Democrat joining the charge. Former Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln, who barely scraped through her state's Democratic primary to lose her seat in the general election last year, is the chairman of the National Federation of Independent Business's new Small Businesses for Sensible Regulations campaign.
The NFIB is well known in Washington for its pending lawsuit, together with more than two dozen states, against the federal government over the healthcare reform law. It's worth pointing out that it's the same law that Lincoln voted for when she was in office. That aside, the campaign is the latest attempt to rein in the more than 4,200 new or pending regulations that could have a negative affect on small businesses.
Rather than challenge regulations through legislation, as the House has tried to do repeatedly this year, Lincoln and the NFIB are hoping to raise the profile of the issue state by state. Starting mostly with political swing states— Florida, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia—the campaign will give small business owners a chance to air their regulation-related grievances in their own words.
The campaign hasn't yet taken aim at any rules in particular, but according to Lincoln, environmental regulations are particularly burdensome for small business. At yesterday's launch, she noted a report from the Small Business Administration that says "compliance with environmental regulation cost a staggering 364 percent more for small business firms" than for larger firms. "The EPA itself has more than 330 regulations under consideration today impacting everything from farm and construction dust to CO2 emissions from our schools and our hospitals," she said.
The fight against the EPA is expected to recharge in September when Congress returns to session. This campaign should add some momentum.