NRF: Proposed regulatory relief must go further

WASHINGTON -- The National Retail Federation welcomed plans announced by the Obama Administration Tuesday to streamline hundreds of government regulations, but said the plan does not go far enough.

“This is a step in the right direction but at the same time the Administration is promising to reduce regulations, the government is continuing to crank out new rules that hamper the ability of the business community to create desperately needed new jobs,” NRF senior VP for government relations David French said. “It’s time to stop the presses at government agencies and on Capitol Hill and focus on reform of what’s already on the books.”

French cited examples such as pending regulations proposed by the National Labor Relations Board that would make it easier for unions to win organizing elections, rules under health care reform that will force many employers to reduce their workforces in order to meet the increased payroll costs of government-mandated health coverage, trade barriers on textiles and apparel, OSHA recordkeeping requirements and the Commerce Department’s agenda for consumer privacy rules that could curtail improvements to online shopping.

President Obama signed an executive order in January requiring federal agencies to review business regulations and streamline or eliminate them where possible. The Administration Tuesday unveiled a package of regulations that have been identified for action, and said businesses would “likely” save $10 billion over the next five years.

“We’ve been presented with a package of rules the Administration says should be streamlined, but it’s vital that what has been proposed actually be accomplished,” French said.

In addition to reducing government regulation, French said the Administration should focus on assisting employers, especially small businesses, with regulatory compliance rather than aggressively pursuing fines and penalties.