By DAN GUZEWICH Staff writer
Rep. Richard L. Hanna is coming under fire from his Democratic foe in this fall’s elections over the Republican’s vote last week in favor of a bill that takes direct aim at government regulations.
Hanna, R-24, Barneveld, joined 231 Republicans in voting to approve the Red Tape Reduction and Small Business Job Creation Act. The bill would freeze any significant regulations until the unemployment rate is below 6 percent. Major regulations are defined as those costing the economy $100 million a year or more, The moratorium would allow for certain emergency regulations, but even those could be challenged in court.
The bill is a combination of seven bills, all of which fit the theme of trying to reduce what Republicans say are hurdles to economic growth erected by excessive federal regulations.
"This important legislation will provide much needed regulatory relief to small businesses and farmers throughout New York, without inhibiting the ability of federal agencies to promulgate those regulations which are truly needed to protect public health and safety," said Hanna.
The bill was approved by a vote of 245-172. It probably won’t make it out of the Senate.
"Everyone agrees we have to seriously examine every regulation to ensure it doesn’t do more harm than good," said Dan Lamb, who is running against Hanna in the new 22nd district. "That doesn’t mean we should prevent the entire federal government from doing its job. Sometimes it’s the absence of strong federal oversight and regulation that leads to economic catastrophe and unemployment."
Lamb noted that retired Rep. Sherwood L. Boehlert, a Republican who formerly lived in New Hartford, has described the bill as "a strikingly outlandish proposal" that "could harm our economic prospects for years to come."
"This is an extremist right wing attempt to disable our government," said Lamb. "It’s hard to see how Congressman Hanna can on the one hand describe himself as a moderate and on the other hand vote for this bill."
Oneida County’s other congressman, William L. Owens, D-23, Plattsburgh, was one of only 13 Democrats to vote for the bill. Hanna spokeswoman Renee Gamela says Hanna’s vote was the right one.
"Richard Hanna is a successful 30-year upstate businessman, not a career government bureaucrat, and knows firsthand that this bipartisan bill would provide desperately-needed regulatory relief to small businesses and farmers throughout New York, while providing waivers for agencies to move forward with rules truly needed to protect public health and safety and enforce our laws," she said.
"Reducing unnecessary and burdensome regulation is just one of the many things we can do to support small businesses," Owens said after the vote.