By Larry Margasak
WASHINGTON -- House Republicans are turning to their business allies as they move to scrap Obama administration programs and regulations as varied as controlling greenhouse gases, regulating the Internet and modifying home mortgages.
Incoming committee chairmen already have asked businesses to identify regulations that kill jobs. They've also denounced new climate change rules, pledged to stop regulation of the Internet and proposed shutting down a troubled program to modify mortgages.
To the new GOP majority in the House, long-term political success lies in shifting the focus for job creation from government to business. The strategy includes accusing Democrats of killing jobs through overregulation and by charging that their economic stimulus program was a failure at reducing unemployment.
Businesses will have their biggest government role since George W. Bush was president and Tom DeLay of Texas was a leader in a Republican-run House. Dick Cheney, as vice president, generated a political firestorm when it was learned that energy-producing industries played a large role in his task force that formed Bush's energy policy. DeLay's "K Street Project" gave loyal GOP lobbyists access to top officials and was criticized as a strategy that allowed large corporations to propose how to rewrite government regulations.
The chief Republican investigator in the 112th Congress that begins Wednesday is Rep. Darrell Issa. As incoming chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Issa wrote 150 trade associations, companies and think tanks last month seeking to identify regulations that businesses believe hurt job creation.
"In fiscal year 2010, federal agencies promulgated 43 major new regulations," the California congressman wrote. "As a trade organization comprised of members that must comply with the regulatory state, I ask for your assistance in identifying existing and proposed regulations that have negatively impacted job growth in your members' industry."
Among those receiving the letters were Duke Energy, the Association of American Railroads, chemical manufacturer FMC Corp., Toyota Motor Corp., Bayer, the American Petroleum Institute, the National Association of Manufacturers and the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association. Issa asked for responses by Jan. 10. He declined to release them piecemeal. The letters were first reported by Politico.