Sweeping Anti-Reg Bills Reach House Floor

Ben Somberg

Dec. 1, 2011

The “Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act” (RFIA) and the “Regulatory Accountability Act” (RAA) are headed for votes on the House floor shortly (today and/or tomorrow). The “Gum Up Public Health and Safety Protections Act” apparently wasn’t going to sell as well.

A quick recap of the Regulatory Accountability Act, via CPR Member Scholar Sidney Shapiro’s Congressional testimony on the bill in October:

  • The regulatory system is already too ossified, and H.R. 3010 would only exacerbate this problem.  It currently takes four to eight years for an agency to promulgate and enforce most significant rules, and the proposed procedures would likely add another two to three years to the process.  In the meantime, thousands of people would die and tens of thousands more would be injured or become ill because of the lack of regulation.
  • H.R. 3010 would block or dilute the critical safeguards on which all Americans depend.  The available evidence demonstrates unequivocally that regulations have benefited the United States greatly, while the failure to regulate has cost us dearly, from the financial collapse to the BP oil spill. The bill would overrule more than 25 environmental, health, and safety statutes by enshrining the protection of corporate profit margins, rather than the protection of individuals, as the primary concern of regulatory decision-making.
  • H.R. 3010 is a drastic overhaul of the Administrative Procedure Act.  The bill would add over 60 new procedural and analytical requirements to the agency rulemaking process.

For a point-by-point examination of how the RAA would leave Americans and the environment less protected, I also recommend the Coalition for Sensible Safeguards’ exhaustive report on the bill.

The RFIA would, as the White House put it, “impose unneeded and costly analytical and procedural requirements on agencies that would prevent them from performing their statutory responsibilities.  It would also create needless regulatory and legal uncertainty and increase costs for businesses and further impede the implementation of commonsense protections for the American public.” (The White House issued a veto threat on the RAA, as well).

You can spin it all you want, but in the end these bills seek to block public health and safety protections.

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