WASHINGTON - U.S. House Republicans pushed through a bill last Thursday that would stall federal regulations on businesses until the nation's unemployment rate declines to 6% or under.lower.

The Courier Journal noted that the bill, which passed in a 245-172 vote, would "block new federal rules aimed at preventing combustible dust explosions" such as the 2003 blast that killed seven people at the CTA Acoustics factory in Corbin, KY.

Before passing the Red Tape Reduction and Small Business Job Creation Act (H.R. 4078), House legislators voted down an amendment that specifically would have exempted combustible dust.

In 2008, Congress directed the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration to create a rule that would safeguard workers from combustible dust hazards, including wood dust. After a series of public hearings, OSHA added enforcement of combustible dust to its Hazardous Communications standard but has yet to create a combustible dust specific regulation.

The Red Tape Reduction Act is still subject to approval by the U.S. Senate and if passed would likely be vetoed by President Barack Obama.

Rep. Tom Griffin (R-AR), sponsor of the House bill, said, “Hardworking Americans deserve a regulatory system that doesn’t hamstring their ability to invest, hire and grow. Yet Arkansas job creators have repeatedly told me how excessive and overly burdensome regulations have prevented them from hiring more employees and growing the economy. With America’s unemployment rate above 8 percent for 41 straight months and counting, even President Obama has admitted that ‘unnecessary or too costly’ regulations are ‘placing unreasonable burdens on business [and having] a chilling effect on growth and jobs.’  He’s identified the problem, and by passing the Red Tape Reduction and Small Business Job Creation Act, the House has provided the solution.”

Griffin said H.R. 4078 would put a moratorium on new regulations that would cost the economy $100 million. The bill does not effect federal rules tied national security, trade agreements, enforcement of criminal and civil rights laws, and imminent threats to health or safety. 

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) supports the Red Tape Reduction Act and other regulatory reform efforts. "The unfavorable environment caused by regulations and taxes is the number-one concern manufacturers listed in the most recent NAM/IndustryWeek Survey of Manufacturers," said Rosario Palmieri, vice president of legal, infrastructure and regulatory policy for NAM. "Manufacturers have been hit hard with a litany of new regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency, National Labor Relations Board and other agencies that are driving up costs and making us less competitive globally. More costly regulations piled on top of the looming fiscal abyss are only adding to the uncertainty and harming job creation and growth."

NAM was joined by more than 140 state and national organizations to support H.R. 4978. The list include the American Forest & Paper Association, American Home Furnishings Alliance, Association of General Contractors of America, Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association,  National Lumber & Building Material Dealers Association and the Window & Door Manufacturers Association.

More than 140 state and national organizations support H.R. 4078, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Federation of Independent Business, as well as the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce/Associated Industries of Arkansas and the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce. A full list of supporting organizations is below.

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