(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama on Tuesday rebuffed criticism of his regulatory agenda leveled by House Republicans, insisting the administration has created a less burdensome business climate than existed under his predecessor, George W. Bush.
In a letter to House Speaker John Boehner, Obama said that government rules and regulations imposed under his administration have saved tens of billions of dollars, in addition to “lives saved and illnesses prevented.”
The president also refuted a claim, made by Boehner in a letter to Obama last week, that more than 200 pending rules are poised to saddle American businesses with billions of dollars in new costs and thereby hurt the creation of jobs.
“The agenda is merely a list of rules that are under general contemplation, provided to the public in order to promote transparency,” Obama wrote. “Many rules listed on an agenda, in any given year, are not issued.”
Of the pending rules, Obama said seven have estimated price tags of more than $1 billion.
Four Environmental Protection Agency air quality regulations, which would limit hazardous pollutants by utility companies and other sources, could have a combined cost of at least $33 billion, according to estimates Obama provided. Three Transportation Department rules are reported to have an estimated combined cost of $5 billion.
“Of course, these rules are merely proposed,” Obama said, “and before finalizing any of them, we will take account of public comments and concerns and give careful consideration to cost-saving possibilities and alternatives.”
Republicans have sought to make the current regulatory climate -- particularly the new financial regulatory reform law and health care law -- a major line of attack against Obama and his handling of the economy.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said Monday that House Republicans would focus on repealing federal environmental regulations and labor rules supported by the Obama administration when they return from the August recess, all part of an effort to “focus on jobs.”
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