In the 115th Congress, the GOP majority’s push to dismantle safeguards for health, safety and the environment, no tool has been more useful than the once-obscure Congressional Review Act (CRA). The law allows for the repeal of duly enacted regulatory safeguards using procedures that bypass meaningful deliberation and scrutiny – skipping committee consideration and sidestepping the Senate’s 60-vote cloture requirement.
Joint Letter to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler re Cost-Benefit Analysis Proposal from CPR Member Scholars. Nineteen CPR Member Scholars joined in comments calling on Wheeler to withdraw an Advance Notice of Public Rulemaking on cost-benefit analysis. August 13, 2018.
Emily Hammond's April 12, 2018 testimony to the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law on two House bills that would rig judicial review of environmental permits to favor industry at the expense of the public interest.
Lisa Heinzerling's March 7, 2018, testimony to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Small Business on the impact of the President's ongoing rollback of regulatory safeguards.
The White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs may be the most important group of bureaucrats many Americans have never heard of. But CPR's Member Scholars and staff keep careful watch on the office of the so-called "regulatory czar." Over the years, the office has come to play an increasingly destructive role in the regulatory process, weakening, gutting, and killing rules designed to protect health, safety and the environment. In this web article, James Goodwin lays out the case for a radical overhaul of OIRA's mission and methods.
Trump's New 'Regulatory Czar': Poised to Lead the Assault on Our Safeguards, CPR Paper 1701. The report by CPR Member Scholars Thomas McGarity, Amy Sinden, Rena Steinzor, and Robert Verchick, and CPR Senior Policy Analyst James Goodwin, examines Neomi Rao’s background and concludes the her modest record of “scholarship and other public statements reflect a deep distrust of federal agencies and their role as policymaking institutions within our constitutional system of government.”
The July 3, 2017, decision by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in Clean Air Council v. Pruitt renewed interest in the many rules that the Trump administration has delayed. In response, CPR Member Scholar Rena Steinzor and University of Maryland law student Elise Desiderio prepared a chart listing and describing every rule for which a Federal Register notice was published announcing a delay in either the effective date or the compliance date or both. The delays listed involve postponements beyond July 14, 2017. The list covers the period from January 20, 2017 to July 14, 2017.
In the first few months of the Trump administration, Congress invoked a rarely used, little-known law called the Congressional Review Act to repeal a host of health, safety, and environmental regulations adopted during the Obama administration after years of consideration and public input. CPR tracked the congressional assault on our safeguards. See our chart from May 2017 detailing the damage.
In Earmarking Away the Public Interest: How Congressional Republicans Use Antiregulatory Appropriations Riders to Benefit Powerful Polluting Industries, CPR's Thomas McGarity, Richard Murphy and James Goodwin explore the ways Republicans in Congress have worked to undercut regulatory safeguards for health, safety and the environment with budget riders.
"No matter how many times the word, 'transparency,' is repeated to characterize" a Trump administration proposal on the use of science in regulation, "its effects would reverse progress," write Rena Steinzor and Wedny Wagner on The Regulatory Review's pages.
With the calendar running out of pages on Donald Trump's first term, EPA is pushing hard to adopt its "benefits-busting" rule, hoping to defeat efforts to implement the Clear Air Act's protections by tilting the cost-benefit analysis process ever more to industry's favor. James Goodwin offers an analysis of the effort.
On August 3, 2020, several CPR Member Scholars and staff joined in submitting comments on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) “benefits-busting” proposal, designed to drastically overhaul how the agency performs cost-benefit analysis on its biggest Clean Air Act rules. The proposal is a thinly veiled effort to rig the results of those analyses – more so than they already are – to make it harder to issue appropriately strong safeguards, thereby sabotaging the effective and timely implementation of the Clean Air Act.
Led by the Center for Progressive Reform, a number of public interest organizations submitted comments to the EPA on August 3, 2020, opposing the agency's efforts to rewrite its cost-benefit analysis methodology as it applies to the Clean Air Act. The "benefits-busting" proposal would tilt the playing field even further than it already is toward industry's profit-making interests at the expense of Americans' health.
In James Goodwin's article on the workings of cost-benefit analysis, he writes, "In cost-benefit analysis, small government ideologues and corporate interests have fashioned a powerful weapon for attacking regulatory safeguards and undercutting landmark laws. Much of that power derives from the elaborate mythology that its proponents have woven around the methodology over the course of the past four decades.... For its supporters, the real genius of the cost-benefit analysis myth is that it distracts from the fact that the methodology is in fact neither neutral nor objective."
Rebuilding our regulatory system is a key though often overlooked imperative for the broader progressive movement as it works to achieve its vision of a more equitable and just society. The rebuilding will ultimately require legislation, but considerable progress can be achieved through unilateral actions by the president, including executive orders. Building on its previous work to advance the cause of progressive regulatory reform, CPR is compiling on this page resources and materials that should inform the development of new executive orders for progressive regulation that would replace Executive Order 12866 and any subsequent executive orders and memoranda built on its framework.
CPR's Rena Steinzor, writing in The Regulatory Review, takes on conservatives' conspiracy-mongering around the so-called "Deep State." She writes: "No matter when President Trump walks out the door, his Administration has caused irreparable injury. Civil servants are demoralized. The civil service does not look like a promising career path for young scientists or other professionals who interpret, translate into policy, or defend scientists’ work. Unless leaders in politics, science, economics, law, and other relevant professions declare a cease fire, the damage could be with us for more than a generation."