WASHINGTON – Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman, ID-Conn., and Ranking Member Susan Collins, R-Me., Tuesday expressed support for the President’s regulatory strategy to promote economic growth and job stimulation and announced they would hold hearings in the coming months on the essential role of government regulation in a free market economy and how the regulatory process can be improved.

            The Senators endorsed the main principles of the President’s strategy to “support continued economic growth and job creation, while protecting the safety and rights of all Americans.”

            “Regulations are critical to the working of a free market and to the health and welfare of all Americans,” Lieberman said. “As we saw in the financial meltdown of 2008, a failure to regulate can lead to catastrophic economic harm. Lack of regulation also contributed to the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the largest oil spill in U.S. history. The President’s strategy emphasizes protecting the health and safety of the American people and the environment while minimizing the burden on small businesses so they can grow and create new jobs. This is a balanced, common sense strategy specifically calibrated to encourage economic recovery.”

            Collins said: “As we continue to try to climb out of this significant recession, Americans do not need more red tape and roadblocks. I welcome the President’s commitment to a more balanced regulatory system that would carefully weigh the costs and benefits of both current and proposed regulations.  But I want to understand what this will mean in practice as during the past two years, the Administration’s track record has been one of imposing costly new burdens and red tape on employers.  There are many examples.  Last spring, needed lead paint rules did not allow small businesses time to receive mandated training in order to avoid steep fines.  Maine’s forest products industry would have been disadvantaged by EPA rules intended to cut certain emissions from wood-fueled boilers.  And stifling federal regulations are forcing ground fishermen in Maine and New England out of business.

            “We are seeing a consensus now that onerous regulations are suppressing innovation and job creation.  I am eager to work with the Administration to ensure that we factor in the economic impact when regulations are developed and that rules meant to benefit the public do not impose harm through unreasonable or unnecessary costs.”

The Committee’s 2011 agenda, which will be made public next week, includes hearings examining the President’s initiative and the importance of regulation to the economy and society.