Credit key to US prosperity


One of my top priorities for this term in Congress is supporting economic growth, the creation of good paying jobs, and opportunities for every American to build a better life. My first step last week was to introduce the bipartisan Credit Access and Inclusion Act.

Written in partnership with Congressman Keith Ellison, a Minnesota Democrat, this legislation is designed to give hardworking American families better access to affordable credit and enable them to build their credit score on their own merit, without federal funds or another layer of Washington bureaucracy.

Unfortunately, many hardworking Americans have been shut out from affordable credit. This could be due to bad decisions made years earlier, inadequate access to financial institutions, or income levels which make it difficult to build credit via traditional means. These hardworking Americans are then considered “high risk” and can be rejected when applying for a loan and are often charged higher rates for insurance.

Millions of these Americans are actually credit worthy “good risks,” but have negative information in their credit files from past mistakes or no data at all. Our bipartisan legislation would allow these Americans to opt-in to having their on-time payments to utilities, telecom companies, and landlords reported to credit agencies, enabling families with little or no credit to build their credit score based on a full and more appropriate picture of their payment history.

By adding more information to credit files, low and moderate income Americans can gain access to affordable and responsible financial products and services, buy homes and cars, and build financial stability. This will also strengthen our entire economy.

In total, our bipartisan legislation would enable nearly 50 million Americans to establish or raise their credit scores, all on their own merit and without federal mandates.

A good credit score is important, but so is having a good-paying job. That’s why last week I also helped pass the Regulatory Accountability Act (H.R. 5).

The Obama Administration set records for the number of major new regulations enacted, with more than 600 new rules in total. Through August 2016, these rules had an estimated economic cost of more than $740 billion and created an additional 194 million hours of burdensome paperwork for American workers.

This was in addition to the already cumbersome list of federal regulations making it hard for American companies to expand and create good paying jobs. In total, federal regulations impose an estimated burden of $1.89 trillion. Washington’s endless stream of new regulations equals higher prices, lower wages, and fewer jobs for hardworking Americans.

How does this impact jobs? Washington regulators routinely fail to analyze the economic impact of new rules, and the courts rarely check Executive overreach when rules go too far.

To address these issues, the Regulatory Accountability Act requires federal agencies to: choose the lowest-cost rulemaking alternative while maintaining statutory objectives; publish plain-language, online summaries of new proposed rules, so the public can better understand the purpose and real-world impact of the rule; and account for all possible impacts of new regulations on small businesses and provide flexibility to reduce the impact on small businesses.

Let me be clear. Regulations are necessary for an orderly society and economy. However, over-regulation, duplicative regulation, regulation to satisfy a well-connected special interest group, contradictory regulation, and unnecessarily burdensome regulation do not benefit our society, but instead strangle the economy and job growth.

My House Republican colleagues and I are committed to smart regulation which benefits our community and helps our economy grow. The Regulatory Accountability Act takes concrete steps toward cutting back on needless regulation while making necessary rules more efficient and effective.

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Robert Pittenger, a Republican from Charlotte, represents the 9th District in the U.S. House, which includes all of Robeson County.

Robert Pittenger, a Republican from Charlotte, represents the 9th District in the U.S. House, which includes all of Robeson County.

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