Business leader: Regulations stunt growth

He blames Democrats in Senate

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“You cannot just walk away, throw your hands up and say, ‘Well, I can’t do it my way, so therefore, we can’t do anything,’ ” Mr. Engler said.

“You have to stay at this, and the leaders have to make it happen,” he continued.

“I’m very frustrated that we have too many people trying to approach this almost from the perspective ‘my way or the highway.’ “

Mr. Engler pointed the finger at Senate Democrats.

“The reality is Speaker [John A.] Boehner has passed a lot of legislation,” he said. “The Senate hasn’t passed very much.”

A major group of free-trade deals with South Korea, Colombia and Panama was passed this year after a half-decade of negotiations, but it took “way too long,” Mr. Engler said.

“If we look ahead, we need to have a lot more ambition” in the future, he said.

Mr. Engler also expressed disappointment in a lack of movement on the Keystone XL pipeline. The 1,700-mile conduit that would extend from Canada to Texas is expected to create some 20,000 jobs, while easing the nation’s dependence on overseas oil. The president was expected to approve it by the end of this year, but now will have to wait a couple more years for the State Department to run additional tests.

“It becomes harder and harder to believe that’s what the president wishes to happen,” Mr. Engler said.

This all adds up to making the U.S. “one of the toughest places in the world” to weed through regulations and do business, according to Mr. Engler.

“Most places you would go and you would find that government and business actually are working together,” he said. “Here, it’s very, very hard to do that.”

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