Regulatory Policy

Regulatory safeguards play a vital role in protecting us from hazards and ensuring that companies that pollute, make unsafe products, and create workplace hazards bear the cost of cleaning up their messes and preventing injuries and deaths. Still, the regulatory system is far from perfect: Rules take too long to develop; enforcement is often feeble; and political pressure from regulated industries has led to weak safeguards.

These systemic problems are made all the more severe by the determination of the Trump administration to undercut sensible safeguards across virtually all aspects of federal regulation. Moreover, the President and his team have taken aim at the the process by which such safeguards are developed, aiming to take a system already slanted in favor of industry profit at the expense of health, safety and the environment, and make it even less protective. For example, where critics of the use of cost-benefit analysis see a system that understates the value of safeguards and overstates the cost of implementing them -- making it difficult to adopt needed protections -- the Trump administration seeks simply to ignore benefits of safeguards, pretending they do not exist. The result is a regulatory system that fails to enforce landmark laws like the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act and more.

CPR exposes and opposes efforts by opponents of sensible safeguards to undermine the regulatory system, fighting back against knee-jerk opposition to environmental, health, and safety protections. Below, see what CPR Members Scholars and staff have had to say in reports, testimony, op-eds and more. Use the search box to narrow the list.

Department of Labor's Emergency Temporary Standard Too Weak to Protect All Workers from COVID-19

The Labor Department’s emergency COVID standard, released today, is too limited and weak to effectively protect all workers from the ongoing pandemic. Workers justifiably expected an enforceable general industry standard to protect them from COVID-19, and the Center for Progressive Reform (CPR) has been calling for such a standard since June 2020. But what emerged after more than six weeks of closed-door White House review was a largely unenforceable voluntary guidance document, with only health care workers receiving the benefit of an enforceable standard.

Type: News Releases (June 10, 2021)
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Author(s): James Goodwin
Making Regulations Work for All: A Webinar on Biden’s First 100 Days

On Wednesday, May 5, CPR held a webinar assessing the Biden-Harris administration’s early moves on reforming how the federal government creates standards and safeguards — both to undo the damaging legacy of the Trump administration and to build a foundation for making regulations work for all people and our planet.

Type: Webinars (May 5, 2021)
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Author(s): James Goodwin
Now That Earmarks Are Back, It's Time to Ban 'Poison Pill' Riders

Making Congress functional again is having a moment. The debates over ending the filibuster and legislation to prevent hyper-partisan congressional districts have received the most attention in this space so far. But lawmakers did quietly take an important step forward on mending congressional dysfunction when they reinstated the practice of earmarking the federal budget, reversing a decade-old ban. Lawmakers should build on this fix to the budget process by cracking down on "poison pill" appropriations riders, a gimmick that proliferated in the vacuum left by the earmark ban.

Type: Op-Eds (April 24, 2021)
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Author(s): James Goodwin
Attention, Lawmakers -- Regulation Is More Popular Than You Think

Amid the Sturm und Drang (storm and stress) of politics these days, one fact stands out — a large majority of Americans want more regulatory protection in a wide variety of areas, according to a recent poll of likely voters. The results are consistent with previous polls that indicate that Americans understand the importance of government regulation in protecting them from financial and health risks beyond their control. They also indicate majority support for efforts by the Biden administration to renew government regulation — as well as a stark repudiation of former President Trump’s extreme anti-regulatory agenda.

Type: Op-Eds (March 2, 2021)
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Author(s): Sidney Shapiro
Voters Strongly Support Government Regulation to Protect Climate, Health, and Future Generations

A poll conducted by the Center for Progressive Reform (CPR) and Data for Progress in January 2021 finds broad public support for a progressive climate agenda that relies on regulatory action, even if it means slower economic growth. It also shows that the public opposes the process the government currently uses to assess the costs and benefits of regulations because it undervalues clean air, safe water, and a healthy climate. Poll results and analysis are available below.

Type: Reports (Feb. 25, 2021)
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Author(s): James Goodwin
Biden Has the Power to Restore Good Governance

Since taking office, President Biden has pursued an active agenda to address many urgent matters that require his prompt attention. Writing for The Hill, CPR Member Scholar Robert Glicksman and colleague Richard Levy hope one important initiative does not get lost in transition: restoring the norms of good governance.

Type: Op-Eds (Feb. 20, 2021)
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Author(s): Robert Glicksman
Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon Should Hold Biden’s Feet to the Fire on Regulatory Agenda

In the midst of this long dark winter, it’s heartening to see the Biden administration lay out a bold agenda for a more secure, fair, and sustainable future. Holding the Biden administration to its promise to reform the regulatory process to “ensure swift and effective federal action” to “improve the lives of the American people” is a crucial part of that effort. From her perch on a key congressional committee with oversight over agencies and the rulemaking process, the Delaware Valley’s own Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon is well-positioned to do just that.

Type: Op-Eds (Feb. 18, 2021)
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Author(s): Amy Sinden
New National Poll Finds Americans Prioritize Environmental Protections over Faster Economic Growth by Overwhelming Margins

A new poll released by Data for Progress and the Center for Progressive Reform finds broad public support for a progressive climate agenda that relies on regulatory action, even if it means slower economic growth. It also shows that the public opposes the process the government currently uses to assess the costs and benefits of regulations because it undervalues clean air, safe water, and a healthy climate.

Type: News Releases (Feb. 2, 2021)
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Author(s): Brian Gumm, James Goodwin
Trump's Big Gamble to Gut U.S. Power Plant Emissions Rules Loses in Court, Opening a Door for New Climate Rules

Joe Biden got a big judicial win for his climate agenda just hours before his inauguration as U.S. president. The case involved federal plans for cutting power plant emissions and a big gamble by the Trump administration.

Type: Op-Eds (Jan. 20, 2021)
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Author(s): Daniel Farber
Biden Has a Congressional Shortcut to Cancel Trump's Regulatory Rollbacks, but It Comes with Risks

The Trump administration dedicated itself to deregulation with unprecedented fervor. It rolled back scores of regulations across government agencies, including more than 80 environmental rules. The Biden administration can reverse some of those actions quickly – for instance, as president, Joe Biden can undo Donald Trump’s executive orders with a stroke of the pen. He plans to restore U.S. involvement in the Paris climate agreement that way on his first day in office. Undoing most regulatory rollbacks, however, will require a review process that can take years, often followed by further delays during litigation. There is an alternative, but it comes with risks.

Type: Op-Eds (Jan. 18, 2021)
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Author(s): Daniel Farber

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