The heads of one of the nation's most prominent business groups and one of its top labor organizations jointly called on Congress Friday to pass major regulatory reform, saying it was crucial the nation's economy and infrastructure.
"Many people wouldn't expect us to agree on such a high-profile political issue. But we do – for the same reason: jobs. We won't generate the kind of wage gains or employment growth that Americans deserve unless we fix a regulatory system that is too inefficient, too complex and too exposed to shifts in the political wind," said Jay Timmons, president of the National Association of Manufacturers, and Sean McGarvey, president of the Laborers' International Union of North America, in a joint op-ed Friday for Fox News.
The two said the nation's "ever-growing tangle" of state and federal rules were creating a "noose around the broader economy" and therefore federal regulations needed "fundamental redesign." They specifically called for the rulemaking process to be conducted publicly and to be backed up by "objective, unimpeachable science." The latter was a dig at environmental standards that critics say overreach.
Business groups have been highly critical of the Obama administration's regulatory efforts, arguing that it often overreached its authority in setting up workplace and environmental protection rules. The Trump administration has agreed, with the president boasting Friday that "we are cutting regulations at a pace that has never been thought of."
Most labor unions applauded the Obama-era efforts and scorned the efforts to roll them back. LIUNA, which mainly represents construction workers and contract laborers, has often sided with business, however, noting that the rules hurt their members. The union was a prominent backer of the Keystone XL pipeline project, which was delayed for seven years and then finally dropped under Obama, but revived by President Trump.
In Friday's op-ed, the two groups pledged to work together to build support for reform. "Our two organizations have joined together to help form the Coalition for Regulatory Innovation because we believe reform is best achieved with a united bipartisan front. Thankfully, Republicans and Democrats in Washington have responded to this issue by offering practical solutions to improve the entire rulemaking process. Our commitment is to bring together people from the business and labor communities to get Congress to move forward on reform that is long overdue," Timmons and McGarvey wrote.