Gibbs Frustrated With Washington

ST. CLAIRSVILLE – For U.S. Rep. Bob Gibbs, the word “frustrated” often comes to mind as he works within Washington’s political world.

“I say that a lot – that I’m very frustrated,” the Republican from Ohio said. “It’s about the process.

“The House has sent so many pieces of legislation to the Senate, and they haven’t done anything. There are about 30 bills just sitting there. These specifically would help our business climate, and encourage job growth.”

Two of the bills now idle in the Senate were introduced by Gibbs. He serves as chairman of the House Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment, a subcommittee of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

House Resolution 872, the “Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2011,” amends new regulations proposed under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act.

Gibbs’ bill would relieve local government entities of having to secure multiple permits at the state and federal level to do such routine things as spraying for mosquitoes in their communities.

He believes the regulations as presently written would slow job growth.

“Can you imagine the entities that will have to get permits?” Gibbs said. “The process will be so bogged down.”

The second measure, HR 2018, the “Clean Water Cooperative Federalism Act of 2011,” upholds the authority of states to regulate pollution in their public waters as stated in the federal Clean Water Act.

“What’s happened is that in this administration, the federal EPA has overstretched themselves,” he said. “This bill directs them to work cooperatively with the states.”

Gibbs said that despite the hesitation on some bills, Congress has passed “some good things” into law this year. He noted new trade agreements with Korea, Panama and Columbia approved by the House and Senate.

“I like to think of them not as trade agreements, but as sales agreements,” Gibbs said. “We’ve always had trade agreements, but these are more specific. It opens it up for more exports, and will create more jobs.”

He added that Congress also cut discretionary spending back to 2008 levels this year.

“This is a real cut,” he said. “This hasn’t happened since World War II. But unfortunately, discretionary spending only accounts (for a small amount) of the federal budget. In the other areas, we’ll have to reform programs.

“About 75 percent of the budget is on auto pilot and needs reformed, and the administration has no desire to do that work.”

This year, the House will continue to focus on the economy, Gibbs continued.

“We have to have our fiscal house in order,” he said. “We need common-sense regulatory reforms, tax reform that makes us competitive and an energy policy that encourages the responsible development of our resources.”