Our country’s system of regulatory protections provides a stable framework that secures our quality of life and paves the way for a sound economy.
Federal regulations dealing with food and consumer products, safe air and drinking water, healthy working conditions, equal opportunity and reliable financial structures protect all of us from harm.
Failure to provide adequate safeguards diminishes our economic well-being, undermines public health and safety, and allows special interests to escape accountability for their actions. Wall Street and big business have often benefited from this failure at the expense of American workers, consumers and families.
Powerful special interests are working with sympathetic politicians to roll back public protections, tie the hands of federal agencies and cut funding for enforcement of important rules that are already in place.
These attacks target not only our nation’s landmark regulatory safeguards but the role of government itself as a protector of the middle class and vulnerable populations. In recent years, special interests have attacked federal protections through:
- Spending cuts to federal agencies that protect the American people;
- Policy riders attached to federal spending bills that delay, block or repeal public protections;
- Legislation that would hamstring agencies and give industry lobbyists unfair advantages;
- Initiatives to devolve federal responsibilities to the states; and
- Dishonest and misleading congressional hearings and investigations.
We convened the Coalition for Sensible Safeguards (CSS) to defend the advances America has made in balancing the needs of commerce with the need to protect all Americans and secure a healthy and sustainable economy for all.
We have come together to help the public understand that a sound system of regulatory safeguards is entirely compatible with economic prosperity – and indeed, essential to it.
CSS includes more than 150 consumer, labor, scientific, research, good government, faith, community, public health and environmental groups as well as concerned individuals — representing millions of Americans.
Our coalition is committed to strengthening public protections, encouraging sound enforcement and repelling the ongoing attacks against commonsense regulatory safeguards.
About Our Work
Our coalition’s goal is to raise awareness of the threats to our system of safeguards. In furtherance of that aim, we serve as advocates on Capitol Hill to ensure that federal lawmakers do not undermine the standards that protect the environment, workplace safety, financial security and public health. Our approach includes the following elements:
As recent disasters in mining, food safety, toy manufacturing, energy storage and transportation, and financial markets make clear, there is an ongoing need to review and improve our nation’s umbrella of public protections. CSS works to extend regulatory protections in these and other areas.
CSS members conduct briefings for legislators and their staff, agency administrators and members of the press when critical issues are in play. Individual coalition members respond to issues in their specific areas of concern, while coordinating with the coalition to increase visibility and effectiveness.
CSS also advocates for important reforms to administrative processes that can improve the quality, effectiveness and efficiency of rulemaking. The White House — within its existing authority — can improve the quality of rulemaking by taking the following steps: simplifying the process by which safeguards are developed, reviewed, implemented and enforced; making the rulemaking process more transparent; and ensuring that agencies have the resources necessary to make and implement sound decisions.
CSS also is committed to keeping harmful policy riders off the federal budget. The coalition’s engagement on this issue is driven by the preponderance of anti-regulatory riders that would block, repeal or weaken both existing and forthcoming regulatory protections.
CSS synthesizes existing public opinion research on regulatory issues, commissions original studies and shares reports, studies, polls and testimony produced by members of the coalition. The purpose of this research is to foster an honest and constructive public dialogue around the issue of regulation. In addition, members of the coalition conduct research on the following topics:
- The role of campaign contributions, lobbying and other improper influences that distort the regulatory process;
- The costs of irresponsible deregulation in the financial sector and other key industries;
- The costs of regulatory delay;
- The costs that result from insufficient regulatory enforcement; and
- The benefits – both economic and qualitative – of regulation.
We use this research to support coalition actions and to educate the public, the press, federal agencies, the White House and Congress.
To influence the debate, CSS issues press releases, fact sheets, blog posts, talking points, editorial board memos, letters to policymakers, op-eds, letters to the editor, daily news clips, digital and social media tools, and activist toolkits, and makes available policy experts with a deep understanding of regulatory issues. The coalition’s websites are intended to serve as resources for anyone interested in learning about regulatory issues and joining the fight to defend and enhance our system of public protections.