Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) on Friday morning said GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry is pushing for a Congress that works just half of its time in Washington, and the other half of its time at members' local WalMart.
Speaking on the House floor, Cohen was critiquing a GOP bill that could come up next week that would require Congress to approve all federal regulations. Cohen said this would require Congress to be in session even longer, which goes against candidate Perry's prescription for a half-time Congress.
"How can we work half time under President Perry?" Cohen asked. "We'd have to be working time and a half. And we know there's not enough money for overtime, and President Perry doesn't want us to do that, he wants us to get a separate job when we go home.
"We go back to San Antonio, we work half time as a Congressman and half time we work at WalMart," Cohen added. "That's what he's suggesting."
Perry suggested that Congress only work part time in mid-November in order to reduce Washington's power and also to save money.
Cohen spoke during debate on H.R. 3010, the Regulatory Accountability Act, which would expand the requirements of federal agencies to base rules on evidence, consider less intrusive alternatives, and weigh costs and benefits more carefully. H.R. 10, likely up next week, would require Congress to approve major rules.
Republicans today said these sorts of changes are needed in light of how federal rules are stifling U.S. job creation.
"By it's own admission, the administration's 2011 regulatory agenda contains 200 regulations that typically will affect the economy by $100 million or more every year," House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-NJ) said.
"For employers, the people who create jobs and pay taxes, the impact of these costly regulations is clear," he added. "Government regulation has become a barrier to economic growth and job creation."
But Ranking Judiciary Member John Conyers (D-Mich.) said these bills are an attempt to completely halt the federal rulemaking process.
"These bills are blatantly and unhesitatingly designed to slow down and even halt all federal rulemaking, thereby threatening public health and safety by undermining the agencies' ability to address a whole range of issues," he said.