Reacting to Cass Sunstein's Nomination

by Rena Steinzor

April 20, 2009

According to media accounts, President Obama today nominated Harvard law professor Cass Sunstein to be the director of OMB's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs -- the so-called "regulatory czar."  CPR President Rena Steinzor reacts to the news:

I welcome Cass Sunstein’s nomination to be the Obama Administration’s regulatory czar. His past support for cost-benefit analysis as a method of regulatory impact analysis – even as practiced by the Bush Administration – raises a host of questions about the direction in which he’ll lead the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. The core issue: will Sunstein’s OIRA allow cost-benefit to continue to be a stumbling block for much-needed regulatory protections for health, safety and the environment? Will OIRA be a place where needed regulations get watered down and bottled up? Or, as I hope, will Professor Sunstein put his years of study of the issue and his prodigious intellect to the all-important task of repairing the tattered framework of the nation’s regulations?

What with poisoned peanuts, lead-laden paint on children’s toys, a variety of toxics in our air and water, and more, we have no shortage of evidence that we need to once again get serious about protective regulations. I hope Professor Sunstein not only shares that view but is determined to help the nation’s regulatory agencies do the job the American people expect of them.

Read more on Cass Sunstein, including CPR's Reinvigorating Protection of Health, Safety, and the Environment: The Choices Facing Cass Sunstein.

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Also from Rena Steinzor

Rena Steinzor is a Professor of Law at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law, and a past president of the Center for Progressive Reform. She is the author of Why Not Jail? Industrial Catastrophes, Corporate Malfeasance, and Government Inaction.

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