Democrats and Republicans all agree that the nation needs to move on a jobs agenda. And Republicans have a new plan: unleash the reins of snake commerce.
GOP members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee today called attention to a proposed regulation that would restrict the transportation and importation of nine types of snakes, including the Burmese Python.
In a new report entitled “Broken Government: How the Administrative State has Broken President Obama’s Promise of Regulatory Reform,” GOP members cited the proposed snake ban as one of seven examples of red tape choking off job growth in an already ailing economy.
One witness invited to testify, snake breeder David Barke, told lawmakers that the rules “threatens as many as a million law-abiding American citizens and their families with the penalty of a felony conviction for pursuing their livelihoods, for pursuing their hobby, or for simply moving with their pet to new state.”
Politico reports that Florida officials, led by Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), are pushing for the new rules because the Everglades are under attack by 100,000 gigantic Burmese pythons who have been accidentally introduced by negligent pet owners. The outside invaders have been on a rampage, devouring native birds and other creatures. One python grew so big that it managed to devour a six-foot alligator before exploding. No really. This actually happened. There’s a photo.
In the on-going battle over the dismal state of the jobs market, Republicans argue that a “regulatory tsunami” from the Obama administration is choking off jobs growth. Committee members say the free market should handle the giant pythons and that government tampering would “devastate a small but thriving sector of the economy.”
Democrats on the committee are less than convinced.
“With all due respect to our witnesses from the Association of Reptile Keepers, repealing a so-called job-killing regulation to allow more pythons, boa constrictors and anacondas into the United States is not the kind of bold, bipartisan solution Americans are looking for to help the economy,” Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) said in a hearing.
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Benjy Sarlin is a reporter for Talking Points Memo and co-writes the campaign blog, TPM2012. He previously reported for The Daily Beast/Newsweek as their Washington Correspondent and covered local politics for the New York Sun.