Damaging Regulatory Legislation in HSGAC Mark-Up

May 16, 2017 | Download PDF

Contacts: James Goodwin, Center for Progressive Reform, jgoodwin@progressivereform.org, (202) 747-0698
Yogin Kothari, Union of Concerned Scientists, ykothari@ucsusa.org, (202) 331-5665
Michell McIntyre, Coalition for Sensible Safeguards, mmcintyre@citizen.org, (202) 454-5156
Amit Narang, Public Citizen, anarang@citizen.org, (202) 454-5116
Rachel Weintraub, Consumer Federation of America, rweintraub@consumerfed.org, (202) 939-1012

The Regulatory Accountability Act

S.951 – Sen. Portman, H.R. 5 – Rep. Bob Goodlatte, passed House 238-182

The Senate version of the RAA would further paralyze the regulatory process and further tilt the process in favor of industry and their deregulatory agenda. The devastating impact of this legislation, which covers guidance documents as well as rulemakings, would be felt in every area of public interest policymaking – potentially impacting women’s health, consumer protection, civil rights, food safety, financial reform, labor, environmental issues, and more. The current rulemaking process is already plagued with lengthy delays, undue influence by regulated industries, and convoluted court challenges. This bill will make each of these problems substantially worse. If passed, it would undermine our public protections and jeopardize public health by threatening the science-based safeguards that ensure our access to clean air and water, safe workplaces, untainted food and drugs, and safe toys and consumer goods.

The House version of the RAA, introduced this Congress, takes the previous RAA legislation and folds in several destructive pieces of other so-called regulatory reform bills including: the misleadingly named Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act, the Require Evaluation before Implementing Executive Wishlists Act (REVIEW Act), the All Economic Regulations are Transparent Act (ALERT Act), the Separation of Powers Restoration Act and the Providing Accountability Through Transparency Act. These pieces of other bills seek to worsen an already destructive bill and add several more corrosive layers intending to dismantle our public protections. This bill has passed the House.

The REINS Act

S. 21 – Se Paul, H.R. 26 – Rep. Todd Young, passed House 237-187

The REINS Act would essentially halt the implementation critical new public health and safety protections, making it even more difficult to hold corporations accountable for actions that harm the public. It would require both houses of Congress to approve a major rule, with no alterations, within a 70-day window. If both chambers are unable to approve a major rule, it would not take effect and would be tabled until the next congressional session. This bill has passed the House.

Midnight Rules Relief Act

S. 34 – Sen. Johnson, H.R. 21 – Rep. Darrell Issa, passed House 238-184

This Congress used the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to kill critical science-based public protections at the behest of corporate special interests with no hearings and barely any deliberation. This bill would make the CRA much worse by allowing Congress to simultaneously reject numerous public protections finalized near the end of presidential terms, instead of blocking them one at a time, as is required by current law. Unlike the CRA’s expedited procedures, agency rules are subjected to myriad accountability mechanisms. For each rule, the agency must articulate a policy rationale that is supported by the rulemaking record and consistent with the requirements of the authorizing statute. In contrast, members of Congress would not have to articulate any rationale at all when rejecting dozens, perhaps even hundreds, of vital public safeguards at a time. This bill has passed the House.

The Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act

S. 584 – Sen. Lankford, H.R. 33 – Rep. Steve Cabot

This bill would expand the reach and scope of regulatory review panels, increase unnecessary regulatory delays by adding burdensome analytical requirements, increase undue influence by regulated industries and encourage wasteful litigation. The bill purports to help “small business,” but its provisions would apply so expansively that it would sweep in rules that primarily impact only the biggest corporations. In particular, because the bill mandates that agencies account for ‘indirect costs,” it could be applied to virtually any agency regulation. This bill has passed the House.

Early Participation in Regulations Act

S. 579 – Sen. Lankford

This bill adds more delays to the rulemaking process across the board. It would require agencies to issue advance notice of their rules. This step is unnecessary for the vast majority of rulemakings and would prevent agencies from responding swiftly and effectively to public health and safety disasters.

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