Remarks on Signing the Steel Industry Compliance Extension Act of 1981

July 17, 1981

Well, we're here for a bill signing and regulation reform, I'm sure we've made plain, is an essential part of putting America's economic house in order.

Today, I'm proud to sign this legislation which represents the kind of regulatory common sense that is needed to achieve enduring economic progress.

The steel industry has always been, of course, one of the vital components of our nation's economy, employing nearly 600,000 people with annual wages and salaries amounting to over $12 billion. But much like the economy as a whole, the steel industry has been abused by a decade of irrational taxation and overregulation. At a time when other nations nurtured their basic industries, our companies found themselves in an adversary relationship with their own government. H.R. -- House Resolution 3520 permits the steel industry to stretch out compliance with the Clean Air Act, providing regulatory relief without discarding our goals. Its phased-in program of compliance will, in the long run, improve the efficiency and productivity of the steel industry and will provide clean air as well.

This legislation uses the word ``reasonable'' twice. The dictionary says that word means ``being within the bounds of reason.'' Another definition says, ``not extreme, or to be moderate or fair.'' This Nation has been suffering from regulation that is not within the bounds of reason, regulation that is neither fair nor moderate. The bipartisan support given this legislation underscores that the American people, Republicans and Democrats alike, understand the need for a new balanced approach to regulation. In the years ahead, we intend to maintain a responsible working relationship with business and labor, ensuring that jobs and progress go hand-in-hand with necessary regulation.

This act, affecting one of America's most vital industries, is a symbol of the administration's commitment -- a commitment to cast aside the over-zealous and unnecessary regulation that has shackled the most productive forces in our economy. And with that said, I shall now sit down and affix my signature to that piece of legislation.

Note: The President spoke at 11:07 a.m. in the Rose Garden at the White House. The signing ceremony was attended by Members of Congress and a group of steel industry representatives.

As enacted, H.R. 3520 is Public Law 97 - 23, approved July 17.