Congressman Peter Roskam

Representing the 6th District of Illinois

How Obama's Rules Hold Back Chicago Business

Aug 31, 2011
Opinion Piece


"Please don't challenge us with more rules and regulations from Washington."

That was one farmer's plea to President Barack Obama at a recent town hall in Atkinson. Unfortunately, its become a steady chorus from American businesses of all walks, including in meetings with Illinois businesses on Tuesday.

Appropriate and responsible regulations play an important policymaking role. Yet the Obama administration has turned rule-making into an assault on American businesses and the jobs they create. Right now, 4,257 new regulations are in the works, 219 of which will cost over $100 million annually — 15 percent more than last year.

Just one rule has Chicago White Metal Casting, a Bensenville manufacturer employing 240, fighting to survive in an already tough economy. They'll soon face a restriction regulating greenhouse gases from stationary sources. After the congressional defeat of cap and trade, the EPA began implementing the job-destroying scheme through regulations. The EPA estimates this regulation will cost businesses $132 million the first year and add EPA oversight to 10,000 new facilities.

In an entirely different sector, Illinois-based food producer Sara Lee could soon face lower sales and higher costs and provide fewer jobs if the administration goes through with a particularly overreaching food regulation that would dramatically restrict their ability to advertise many food products — in the name of fighting childhood obesity.

While well-intentioned, the proposed guideline would eliminate Sara Lee-owned Ballpark Hot Dogs' sponsorship of baseball's Detroit Tigers, restrict athletes from appearing on General Mills' Wheaties cereal and restrict Sara Lee from advertising a lean turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread during the Super Bowl, all because people under 18 represent large audiences for these advertisements. The regulation of hot dog advertisements at baseball games won't create a single job.

In fact, it would hurt Illinois jobs and families cost of living. Companies' restricted ability to advertise would mean fewer sales and less production. Less production would mean less work for the employees making the products, less for those transporting them and less for those selling them. That means fewer jobs and higher prices for the consumer.

In yet another distinct sector, Chicago-based Boeing is defending itself from unelected bureaucrats blocking them from simply operating in a right-to-work state. After investing over $1 billion in a new South Carolina manufacturing plant, the National Labor Relations Board ruled that opening the facility violated the law. While this is little more than a cheap political trick to help labor allies, Boeing is now forced to spend resources fighting regulations over creating jobs.

That's why Congress will soon vote to prevent the NLRB from restricting where employers can create jobs in America. We'll also address numerous EPA regulations, following April's vote to stop the EPA's back-door cap and trade implementation. It's likely a vastly different approach from President Obama's soon-to-be-unveiled "jobs plan" — a surefire mix of "stimulus" by a different name, bureaucracy and faux-business help. It's a contrast with Republicans who recognize that to create jobs we must focus on cutting regulatory barriers to job creation.

U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam, a Republican, represents the 6th District of Illinois.