"If you increase employment but you have a lot more sick people, you have to ask yourself, 'What's the trade-off?'" he said. "The highest level of GDP is not necessarily the highest level of national satisfaction or national health."
Indeed, environmental advocates argue that many of the GOP proposals are more likely to kill people than create jobs.
"It won't save them jobs, it won't even save them that much money, but it is going to cause illnesses, deaths, more hospital stays or days lost because of illness,” said Scott Slesinger, legislative director for the Natural Resources Defense Council. “That's why we have all these environmental laws.”