- Top Republicans send a letter to Obama asking support for two GOP regulatory relief bills
- The GOP pushes for changing EPA regulations and easing up on the cement industry
- Obama has been pushing a $447 billion job creation plan
House Republicans tried to seize the political upper hand in the job-creation debate Monday, urging President Barack Obama to support GOP-sponsored legislation designed to ease industry burdens imposed by environmental regulations, among other things.
Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and other GOP leaders sent a letter to the president noting that the Republican-controlled House is scheduled to consider two bills this week -- an "EPA Regulatory Relief Act" requiring authorities to reissue certain rules in a "less burdensome manner," and a "Cement Sector Regulatory Relief Act" requiring regulators to reconsider rules affecting an industry critical to new construction.
"The federal government has a responsibility under the Constitution to regulate interstate commerce, and there are reasonable regulations that protect our children and help keep our environment clean," the Republicans said in the letter.
"But there are also excessive regulations that unnecessarily increase costs for consumers and small businesses, and make it harder for our economy to create jobs. The rules addressed by the bills the House will consider this week are examples of such harmful government excess."
The White House did not offer an immediate response to the letter.
The new initiatives are part of the GOP's response to Obama's recently unveiled $447 billion jobs plan. Obama's blueprint -- presented last month to Congress -- calls for a series of targeted tax cuts, infrastructure spending and new job training assistance that would be paid for by ending tax loopholes for corporations and some tax cuts for American families earning more than $250,000 a year.
Republican leaders are vehemently opposed to raising tax rates on wealthier Americans, arguing that such a move would further depress an already sluggish economy. They also accuse the president of engaging in what the GOP characterizes as "class warfare."
For his part, Obama his taken the push for his jobs bill on the road, holding a series of campaign-style events across the country urging Congress to take action on his plan.
The weak economy promises to be the dominant issue of next year's presidential campaign, with an overwhelming majority of Americans consistently calling it their top concern.