Gov. Scott Walker Takes Aim at Feds: Reign In 'Run Amok' EPA and NLRB

By Elizabeth Harrington | June 15, 2012 | 12:43pm EDT

Scott Walker, the Republican governor of Wisconsin. (AP Photo)

( – Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker said the federal government needs to “reign in” the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) because they have “run amok,” in remarks at a Jobs Summit hosted by the Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday.

“[W]e need to reign in, particularly two key areas, the National Labor Relations Board and the EPA so that our employers have certainty as to know exactly what’s going to happen in the future in those two critical areas,” Walker said during a press conference at the event.

“Because we can do all the good in the world at the state level, but if you have federal agencies run amok like that, that stand in the way of economic growth and prosperity, we’re never going to be able to deal with this challenge,” he said.

“I think we can, I believe we can, but we’ve got to have a government that’s willing to do it for us in Washington as well,” said the governor.

Walker attended the 2012 Jobs Summit held by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (USCC) to sit on a “Governors Roundtable” and discuss what states are doing to foster innovation and economic growth.

“It’s pretty simple, we need more growth and more frugality,” Walker said following the roundtable discussion.

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The Wisconsin governor mentioned his recent recall election victory (on June 5) over Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.  “A couple of the other folks who covered Wisconsin know I’ve talked about this for some time, having just come off of -- guys I’m the first governor ever elected twice in the same term, so it’s kind of nice to hold that distinction,” he said.

“More votes this time,” said U.S. Chamber President and CEO Tom Donhue.

Dome of U.S. Capitol building. (AP Photo.)

“Yeah, more votes this time,” Walker said.  Walker defeated his challenger 53 to 46 percent, roughly one year after implementing reforms to trim the state budget in Wisconsin and curb the collective bargaining rights of public sector unions.

“But we had -- at obviously a smaller level -- but it was very parallel to what we face in Washington,” Walker said.  “We came in last year, we had a $3.6 billion budget deficit -- one of the biggest ever -- and we had just come off of three years of losing more than 100,000 jobs and having an unemployment rate at the peak that was over 9 percent.”

“We knew we had both an economic and a fiscal crisis we had to tackle, and so we took swift stern action and it paid off,” said Walker.  “It paid off with results.  We’ve now seen, instead of job loss, we’ve seen job growth.  We’ve seen the lowest unemployment rate since 2008 and we see budgets that are balanced now at the state, at the local level. In fact, we have a budget surplus, and for two consecutive years we’ve set money aside to put in our rainy day fund.”

“We do it at the state level, there’s no reason why it can’t be done here [at the federal level],” Walker said.  “But it’s got to be the two together.  It can’t just be frugality, there’s got to be growth.”

Walker than compared the current state of the economy to the circumstances during the 1980 presidential campaign.  “It was 30 years ago that we were facing the same, in fact in 1980 -- some of you will kick me for saying this -- but in 1980 when President [Ronald] Reagan was elected, two days before I turned 13 and yet I still can remember it wasn’t just a referendum on President [Jimmy] Carter’s failed policies and the fact that life wasn’t better four years later.”

“It was fundamentally about a clear vision that President Reagan had, or candidate Reagan had at that time, about limited government, lower taxes, strong national defense and he carried that out,” said Walker.

Walker said Reagan’s economic recovery act led to the “largest peace-time economic growth in American history.”

“So, I think from a national standpoint, not only do we need the stability of having some frugality in government, we need to have a pro-growth agenda that’s going to lower the tax rate, put more money back in the hands of American consumers,” said Walker. “We need certainty in terms of a repeal or change of the Affordable Care Act so that businesses, particularly small businesses, know what’s going to happen in the future when it comes to health care.”

Other speakers at the 2012 Jobs Summit at the USCC included Govs. Jack Markell (D-Del.), Dave Heineman (R-Neb.), and Gary Herbert (R-Utah), who focused on ways to tackle economic and fiscal issues at the state level.

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