The White House is pushing back unusually hard against reports that Obama is considering calling for a moratorium on certain types of regulations in his jobs speech Thursday. White House spokesman Clark Stevens emails:
Those reports are false. The Administration has a strong record of implementing smart, sensible steps that protect consumers, public health, and the environment. While the President has made clear that we must continue to ensure that new regulations are based on common sense, and implemented in ways that do not impede our economic recovery, he has also made clear that he will not accept the false choice of either having prosperity or clean air, clean water, and safe food. Americans deserve both, and we will continue to take steps that provide those protections, while fostering economic growth.
It’s hard to know whether this was a trial balloon, or a leak designed to get the idea shot down, or whether this was never being seriously considered at all, but this statement would seem to rule out any kind of meaningful moratorium on new regulations.
Such a move would have seriously angered the left, for symbolic as well as substantive reasons. It would have been taken as a sign that the White House is caving to business interests, as Sam Stein puts it. Perhaps more important, it would also have been taken as White House validation for the conservative idea that government regulations are to blame for the sluggish recovery in a vain effort to win over Republicans who are determined to destroy Obama’s presidency.
This will not do much to mollify those who are still angry about Obama’s move on the EPA, which has been widely interpreted — fair or not — in that light, as more capitulation to the conservative worldview. But it does appear that we’re not going to see more along these lines on Thursday night.