The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has made no secret of its willingness to go to court over new Obama administration regulations. In August, for example, it sued to stop the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse-gas emissions.
Today, President Barack Obama suggested there’s little need for such legal battles.
Though Obama did not directly address the Chamber’s recent litigation activity, he said in a half-hour speech at the Chamber’s headquarters today that he wants to work with the business group to keep regulations reasonable. He reiterated a recent call to remove “outdated and unnecessary regulations.”
“I’ve ordered a government-wide review, and if there are rules on the books that are needlessly stifling job creation and economic growth, we will fix them,” Obama said in his prepared remarks. In the case of greenhouse gases, for example, Obama noted a January announcement that the EPA, “based on the need for further scientific analysis,” is delaying certain new permitting rules.
The Chamber’s lawsuit against the EPA, challenging the agency’s use of the Clean Air Act, is pending in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. It’s been consolidated with other requests for review of the agency’s actions, and oral argument has been ordered.
The National Law Journal reported last year that the case is part of a growing legal agenda for the Chamber, which participated in 16 cases in the most recently completed U.S. Supreme Court term.
Thomas Donohue, the Chamber’s president, has pledged to go to court to fight other Obama administration regulations in areas such as health care and banking. “Litigation is one of our most powerful tools for making sure that federal agencies follow the law and are held accountable,” he said in prepared remarks in October.
Obama also made a brief mention today of changing the system for medical malpractice liability, a topic he touched on in his State of the Union address last month and other times in the past. “I’m willing and happy to look at other ideas to improve the [new health-care] law, including incentives to improve patient safety and medical malpractice reforms,” he said.