Coalition Sign-On Letter Against the “Red Tape Reduction and Small Business Job Creation Act” (H.R. 4078)

July 23, 2012 | Download PDF

Dear Representative,

On behalf of our millions of members and supporters, we are writing to urge you to oppose the “Red Tape Reduction and Small Business Job Creation Act” (H.R. 4078), which includes the “Regulatory Freeze For Jobs Act,” the “Midnight Rule Relief Act of 2012″ (H.R. 4607), and the “Sunshine for Regulatory Decrees and Settlements Act of 2012” (H.R. 3862), among other harmful bills. The bill is expected to be voted on this week. This bill would shut down the entire regulatory system, endangering the health, safety, and economic stability of every American. This sweeping and unprecedented bill would also supersede numerous laws currently on the books without any evidence that they would improve the economy.

The “Regulatory Freeze for Jobs Act” is the most far-reaching, extreme, and dangerous of this trio. It prohibits almost all “significant” regulatory actions for as long as unemployment remains consistently above 6% without fluctuation. This would stop important and critical protections in their tracks, including regulations that ensure that we aren’t contracting foodborne illness, that veterans receive benefits for defending our country, that our air and water are clean, that our medical products are safe, and that we aren’t injured when we go to work.   To recognize the absurdity of this bill, consider what would have happened if the government had been prevented from issuing new rules to protect the economy at the outset of the Great Depression or the recent financial meltdown. Or think about how this bill would block new clean car standards, which are supported by industry and help consumers and the economy while protecting the environment.

The “Midnight Rule Relief Act” would stop any regulations from being proposed or finalized during the Presidential lame duck period if the President is not serving a consecutive term. This legislation would block implementation of regulatory standards and safeguards simply by virtue of when they were proposed or finalized. Such an arbitrary distinction, which bears no relationship to the merits of any particular regulation, would impact regulations that have been in the works for years. Indeed, regulatory process experts at the Administrative Conference of the United States recently released their recommendation on reforms to “midnight” rulemaking, stating “shutting the rulemaking process down during this period would be impractical given that numerous agency programs require constant regulatory activity, often with statutory deadlines.”

Last, but not least, the “Sunshine for Regulatory Decrees and Settlements Act” allows individuals who want the federal government to continue breaking the law for their own benefit to obstruct and delay requirements to follow federal law. Consider the situation in which a federal agency commits a gross violation of a federal law and a state challenges that lawbreaking in court. Today, the state and federal agency have the ability to resolve that legal violation through a consent decree or settlement agreement, promptly, without wasting judicial resources, while ensuring federal law is upheld and the state’s valid legal interests are safeguarded. But this bill thwarts all of that by anointing third parties that support the perpetuation of the unlawful behavior with the right to obstruct and delay a plaintiff’s legal right to ensure that the law is followed and the plaintiff’s interests are protected. By interfering with a court’s ability to oversee consent decrees and the ability of parties to enter into settlements, this bill would cause delay, greatly increase the costs of litigation, and impede meaningful resolution of lawsuits.

Even if you believe that the regulatory process should be refined, this bill is extreme. It is not intended to improve the regulatory system, but to destroy it. It would stop almost all regulation in its tracks, putting the safety, security, and health of the American public at risk. For these reasons, we strongly urge you to oppose this bill.

Sincerely,

AFL-CIO
Alliance for Justice
American Association for Justice
American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees
American Rivers
Blue Green Alliance
Breathe California
Center for Biological Diversity
Center for Celebration of Creation
Center for Food Safety
Center for Science in the Public Interest
Changelab Solutions
Change to Win
Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future (PennFuture)
Clean Air Task Force
Clean Water Action
Clean Water Network
Climate Solutions
Conservation Law Foundation
Consumer Federation of America
Consumers Union, Policy and Action from Consumer Reports
Defenders of Wildlife
Demos
Earthjustice
Economic Policy Institute
Endangered Species Coalition
Environment America
Environment Northeast
Friends of the Earth
Greenpeace
Health Care for America Now
Health Care Without Harm
Institute of Neurotoxicology & Neurological Disorders
Interfaith Power & Light
KyotoUSA
Latino Coalition for a Healthy California
League of Conservation Voters
Massachusetts Climate Action Network
NAACP
National Consumers League
National Employment Law Project
National Women’s Health Network
National Women’s Law Center
Natural Resources Defense Council
NC Conservation Network
Oceana
New Jersey Work Environment Council
OMB Watch
Partnership for Working Families
Physicians for Social Responsibility
Public Citizen
Safe Climate Campaign
Sierra Club
Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium
Southern Alliance for Clean Energy
Southern Environmental Law Center
The Wilderness Society
Trust for America’s Health
Union of Concerned Scientists
United Steelworkers
US Climate Action Network
U.S. PIRG
International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace & Agricultural Implement Workers of America, UAW
UFCW International Union
350.org