Over 3800 new federal regulations went on the books in 2012;  US Congressman Sam Graves calls that regulatory overreach.

The 6th District Republican represents the northern third of Missouri. Graves fielded questions at a town hall meeting in Hannibal Wednesday.

Graves says statutory laws are passed by legislators who are accountable to voters, while regulatory laws are passed at the executive level by agencies not accountable to the electorate.  He cites the EPA as one example of an agency out of control.  Graves says he introduced the Stop the EPA Act which requires all regulations with an economic impact exceeding $50 million to be approved by Congress.

The Congressman blames the Senate and Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid for a lot of the gridlock in Washington.  He calls Reid a “slippery individual”.  Graves says Reid’s refusal to bring Bills to the floor or pass a budget has helped insulate President Obama from having to make tough decisions on signing or vetoing Bills.  Many programs continue to be funded and even increase without a budget bill because their status falls under mandatory spending based on demand.

The budget issue is often misunderstood, Graves says.  He told the crowd what is often called spending cuts are actually cuts in the increase in spending.  He says all federal programs should be scrutinized for cuts, even defense spending.  Graves feels food assistance programs and Medicaid would be better managed at the state, or even county level.

The key to ending the gridlock, according to Graves, is the fall 2014 elections.  The Republicans need to pick up 6 seats in the Senate to regain majority status.  Graves says if that should happen, Republicans can force the President’s hand. This will help shape the all-important presidential election in 2016.

Those sentiments were echoed by several in the crowd, including Rich Niemann, Sr.  The Niemanns operate a chain of grocery stores including County Markets in northeast Missouri.

The listening tour moves to Monroe City on Thursday.  Congressman Graves will host a town hall at Potterfield Trucking on US 24 from 2 to 3 p.m.