Santorum’s Views on Regulation

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Republican presidential candidate says he would revoke “irrational” regulation.

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The media has extensively covered Rick Santorum’s views on social issues, but what are his opinions about regulation?

Like Mitt Romney, Santorum opposes President Obama’s regulatory strategies. Arguing that “enterprise isn’t free when it’s tangled in 82,000 pages of red tape every year,” Santorum has committed himself “to immediately repealing all Obama regulations that have a burden of more than $100 million on American businesses.” The former Senator from Pennsylvania also says that, if elected president, he will have all other regulations assessed to see if their benefits outweigh their costs. If rules fail to satisfy “this commonsense test,” he promises to revoke them.

On health care, Santorum has publicly announced that he would work to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act as well as “every single Obamacare regulation.” He advocates instead “market-driven, patient-centered solutions,” which include allowing patients to purchase health care plans across state lines and earn refundable tax credits for purchasing their own health care coverage. He also supports Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) plan for the federal government to block-grant Medicaid funding to states. Block-granting Medicaid would in principle allow for states to provide medical coverage with greater flexibility and predictability in managing a large part of their yearly budgets.

Santorum promises to increase American oil production by removing bans on offshore and onshore drilling. He also vows to promote private sector hydraulic fracking techniques – replicating efforts extensively underway in his home state of Pennsylvania. Like Romney, he would limit EPA greenhouse gas regulations, stop utility, boiler, and cement Mercury and Air Toxin Standards, and fight “the reclassification of coal ash, and any regulation of farm dust.” Santorum’s religious views are said to inform an approach to environmental policy that emphasizes stewardship for the promotion of human needs, not environmental protection for its own sake.

Santorum says that if elected President, he would immediately approve construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, and would reduce the “exorbitant amount of money” he says the Department of Energy spends “on technologies to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and alternative-energy vehicles.” Santorum argues that these sources are a poor choice for government intervention because they are not yet commercially viable and “it is not the government’s role to force these technologies into the market place.”

Santorum states he would “restore the separation of Title X family planning from abortion practices” and redirect Department of Health and Human Services funding to partner with state and local communities, non profits, and faith-based organizations “for the purpose of strengthening marriages, families, and fatherhood.” His plan to cut federal spending includes spending freezes for “Medicaid, Housing, Job Training, and Food Stamps for five years,” eliminating funding for Planned Parenthood, cutting the number of USAID employees in half, and eliminating funding for “Dodd/Frank regulatory burdens.”