President Barack Obama dealt House Speaker John Boehner the latest blow Tuesday in the lawmakers' war of words.
"I agree that it is extremely important to minimize regulatory burdens and to avoid unjustified regulatory costs, particularly in this difficult economic period," Obama wrote. "I have taken a number of steps to achieve those goals."
In his letter, Boehner pointed to the long list of regulatory actions published by the White House as a sign of government overreach.
Obama reminded Boehner that the regulations were cost-saving and their publication was standard government operating procedure. Besides that, Obama pointed out that the cost of regulations in the final two years of George W. Bush's presidency exceeded those in the first two years of Obama's administration.
"I would add that the costs of final, economically significant rules reviewed by the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs were actually higher in 2007 and 2008 than in the first 2 years of my Administration," the letter reads. "And in 2009 and 2010, the benefits of such rules — including not only monetary savings but also lives saved and illnesses prevented — exceeded the costs by tens of billions of dollars."
Boehner had pointed out that the regulatory agenda for the year contained 219 "planned new regulations."
"That's almost a 15 percent increase over last year, and appears to contradict public suggestions by the Administration this week that the regulatory burden on American job creators is being scaled back," Boehner wrote.
Obama, however, corrected Boehner: what he called "planned" regulations are in fact nowhere near final.
"Under both Republican and Democratic administrations, the agenda is merely a list of rules that are under general contemplation, provided to the public in order to promote transparency," Obama wrote.
When Congress returns from its August recess next week, odds are that the sniping over regulations will shift from letter-writing to comments in the press and potential floor remarks. Obama's sign-off hinted of the battle to come.
"I look forward to working closely with you to produce a regulatory system that will, in the words of Executive Order 13563, 'protect public health, welfare, safety, and our environment while promoting economic growth, innovation, competitiveness, and job creation'," he wrote.