Hoeven Outlines Work in Congress At ND Policy Summit

Senator Calls for Regulatory Certainty, Pro-Business Environment to Increase International Competitiveness

BISMARCK, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven today highlighted his work to build a strong business climate and replicate North Dakota’s success on the national level during remarks at a congressional panel at the North Dakota Policy Summit hosted by the Greater North Dakota Chamber of Commerce. During the panel, the senator focused on his legislative efforts to rein in spending, provide regulatory certainty and create a pro-business climate to make American businesses more competitive internationally, create opportunities for individuals and empower investment, innovation, and economic growth.

“We need to build a healthy business climate, like we’ve done in North Dakota, to grow the economy, get Americans back to work and raise government revenues to reduce the deficit without tax increases,” Hoeven said. “Across sectors, whether it is energy, agriculture, manufacturing or the service industry, our businesses need certainty from our government. That means we build a legal, tax, and regulatory environment where government policies enhance our businesses’ ability to operate both domestically and internationally by being simple, fair and cost-effective, not overly burdensome.”

Reducing Spending

Hoeven noted that the federal deficit in 2014 is projected to be at its lowest level since 2008, down by more than fifty percent compared to three years ago, and that Congress has reduced overall spending for two years in a row. The senator pointed to Congress’ efforts to rein in discretionary spending through annual appropriations bills and the Budget Control Act (BCA) of 2011. In Fiscal Year (FY) 2014, Congress set discretionary spending at $164 billion below the FY2008 level. Hoeven stated that Congress will need to turn its attention to comprehensive tax reform as well as reforms to preserve and protect federal entitlement programs in order to continue this progress.

Regulatory Certainty

Senator Hoeven highlighted two sets of regulations that threaten economic growth and represent burdensome overreaches by federal regulators, the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule as well as the EPA’s new carbon dioxide regulations for existing coal-fired power plants. The senator has been working to prevent these regulations from being implemented.

The WOTUS rule would significantly expand federal regulatory authority to regulate small wetlands, creeks, stock ponds and ditches under the Clean Water Act (CWA). This action would have a negative impact on farms, small businesses, energy production and commercial development across North Dakota and other Western states. In June, Hoeven joined the Senate Western Caucus members in sending a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, urging her to stop moving forward with the rule. Hoeven also pressed Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to oppose the rule and cosponsored the Protecting Water and Property Rights Act of 2014, which would block the rule, while also pushing for similar language in the Energy and Water Appropriations bill.

In June, the EPA released new proposed carbon dioxide regulations for existing coal-based power plants and estimated that the compliance costs for the regulations will range from $5.4 billion to $7.4 billion annually beginning in 2020, before increasing to $7.3 billion to $8.8 billion beginning in 2030. Senator Hoeven emphasized that these costs will be passed on to consumers and businesses, increasing the cost of all goods and services and hindering economic growth, especially in North Dakota, where coal-fired power plants provide nearly 80 percent of the state’s residential and commercial energy needs. Furthermore, nearly 18,000 workers in the state would be impacted, both in the coal industry and in industries which provide goods and services in support of coal.

In response to the proposed regulations, Hoeven introduced the Electricity Security and Affordability Act with Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) to protect new and existing power plants from overly burdensome EPA regulations. This legislation protects existing plants by requiring that the EPA provide Congress with the text of any rule that would impact existing power plants, the economic impacts of such a rule and the amount of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduced by the rule compared to overall global GHG emissions. The bill also prevents any such rule from taking effect until Congress passes legislation setting the effective date for the rule.

International Competitiveness

Senator Hoeven stated that North Dakota’s success in increasing exports holds important lessons for federal policy. Since 2001, the state’s exports have increased by 361 percent. In addition to creating a pro-business environment, as Governor of North Dakota, Hoeven worked to create the North Dakota Trade Office and helped to arrange international trade trips, including trips to Taiwan, China and Eastern Europe, for a range of products produced in the state.

As a member of the U.S. Senate, Hoeven worked in 2011 to forge an agreement to pass a bipartisan Trade Adjustment Assistance reform bill as well as three long-pending free trade agreements with Colombia, South Korea and Panama, which represent more than $13 billion in increased economic activity for U.S. manufacturers, farmers and ranchers. The senator continues these efforts by supporting programs to promote rural trade as a member of the Senate Agriculture and Appropriations Committees. Hoeven also served on the joint Senate-House farm bill conference committee that negotiated the final version of the farm bill, which included key export programs, including the Market Access Program (MAP) and the Foreign Market Development Program (FMDP).

MAP provides $200 million in matching funds to promote rural agricultural industries and products. MAP helps to build global markets for a wide variety of farm and food products. Thirty-two North Dakota companies receive a match from the program. FMDP, which was reauthorized in the 2014 farm bill, provides $34.6 million in matching funds to nonprofit commodity or trade associations to aid in the expansion of export markets for U.S. agricultural products. FMDP-funded projects usually address opportunities to reduce foreign import restrictions and promote free and fair markets.