When most South Dakotans consider of the primary role of Congress, they probably think of passing legislation.  While sending new laws to the President is an important role the Congress plays, another important role is providing oversight.  Oversight is a Washington term, but its definition is self-explanatory.  Members of Congress have a duty to keep watch over government programs and how our tax dollars are spent. 

                Just this week I voted, with a bipartisan majority, to direct the House Committees to pursue vigorous oversight of government agencies and to review existing and proposed regulations to determine their impact on jobs and economic growth.

                When I ask South Dakota small business owners what is the number one thing we can do in Washington, DC to help create jobs, the answer is to provide them with regulatory certainty moving forward.  Not knowing what threatening regulation might be coming down the pike from the Environmental Protection Agency, for example, dampens small business owners’ appetite for making the risk involved in expanding their operation or hiring another employee or two. 

                The EPA is ripe with examples of these burdens.  When the EPA was created 30 years ago, its charge was to protect human health and the environment. That cause has swelled into a movement of unrealistic regulations, becoming increasingly detrimental to farmers and small businesses.  A classic example of these unrealistic controls is the agency’s pending proposal to lower the levels of Particulate Matters through their required review of the Clean Air Act.  The EPA’s suggested levels have the potential to require farmers to impose significant dust control measures on their farms.  You can bet any South Dakota farmer tending to their livestock, bailing hay, or harvesting their crops would agree this is absurd.

It is essential Congress use its oversight authority to return these agencies to their original purposes and eliminate burdensome regulations.  These mandates impede private-sector job creation, stifle innovation and the American entrepreneurial spirit, and prolong economic uncertainty when our economy is in a fragile recovery.  The unnecessary weight of additional paperwork and costs must be eliminated.  These actions need to be mitigated to allow our nation and its job creators – large and small - the opportunity to gain stability, expand, and get our economy moving again. 

It is my plan to use my committee assignments on the Natural Resources Committee and Education and Workforce Committee to  not only pursue legislation that benefits South Dakota, but also to carry out oversight to ensure bureaucrats in Washington are not slowing job creation in South Dakota.


Rep. Kristi Noem is South Dakota’s lone U.S. Representative, elected in November 2010.  She serves on the Education and Workforce and Natural Resources Committees.


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