Rep. DeSantis Congressional Update For the Week of July 15
Some claim that the measure of the productivity of Congress is the number of laws that get passed and signed into law. This only makes sense if you believe that congressional action always (or even usually) makes things better. In fact, Congress often times creates new problems and exacerbates existing problems by enacting ill-considered laws.
This week has provided a number of good examples of this phenomenon.
On Wednesday, the House voted – on a bipartisan basis, no less – to postpone the employer and individual mandates from the 2010 health care law. The President unilaterally claimed the right to delay the employer mandate, but since there was no statutory basis for this, the delay is not lawful. Congress decided to authorize the delay in the employer mandate because the mandate damages the economy and hurts job creation. Delaying the individual mandate is simply a matter of fairness – if large employers get a break from onerous mandates, why not individuals and families? What is good for the goose should be good for the gander. That there was bipartisan support for both of these delays is proof positive of the law’s misguided nature. The problems facing the economy in this respect are problems created by congressional leaders such as Nancy Pelosi who rammed the law through Congress without reading or understanding it.
On Thursday, I was happy to chair a hearing of the Oversight and Government Reform’s Subcommittee on Economic Growth and Regulatory Affairs regarding the negative effects of the Dodd-Frank Act on community banks and local economies. As St. Augustine’s Eddie Creamer pointed out at the hearing, excessive federal regulation makes community banks devote an inordinate amount of time to compliance, which reduces the time and resources available to lend to the community. Indeed, another witness noted how big bureaucratic behemoths such as Dodd-Frank disadvantage community banks vis-à-vis large financial institutions – large banks have huge compliance staffs and their “too big to fail” nature allows them to borrow at lower costs. Dodd-Frank was pitched as a measure to “hold Wall Street accountable,” yet it is harming institutions which had nothing to do with the 2008 financial crisis. Like ObamaCare, the enactment of Dodd-Frank is creating unnecessary impediments to job growth and small business expansion.
Today, the House passed HR 5, the Student Success Act, which is a response to the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act, which was the centerpiece of the domestic agenda of President George W. Bush. By expanding the federal government’s role in local education matters, NCLB created new and unnecessary burdens on states, school districts and teachers. It failed to increase student performance. HR 5 repeals onerous NCLB provisions, including federal mandates regarding student proficiency, teacher certification and expenditure of education funds. States and localities are responsible for K-12 education; there is no need for the federal government to boss states/localities around regarding an issue with which it has little competence or authority. The bottom line is that No Child Left Behind created a number of new problems, and now, 11 years later, the House has been forced to repeal these mistakes.
For each piece of legislation, Congress should borrow from the medical profession by remembering the admonition in the Hippocratic Oath: “First, do no harm.”