GOP Vote to Halt All New Health, Environmental and Workplace Safeguards Would Harm Millions

House Approval of Unprecedented Measure to Shut Down U.S. Regulatory Process Threatens Clean Air, Safe Food, Secure Financial System, Workplace Safety and More

July 26, 2012

Contact: Angela Bradbery (202) 588-7741
Gisele McAuliffe (202) 285-3340

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A House of Representatives vote today to block critical new health, environmental, safety workplace and financial security safeguards would harm millions, Public Citizen said today. If the measure becomes law, average Americans would suffer while polluters, reckless Wall Street investors and unethical corporations would gain.

The bill, H.R. 4078, was strongly opposed by Democratic members of Congress and a wide range of public interest groups. The bill would bring to a complete halt the federal regulatory process of issuing safeguards that protect the health and safety of all Americans. The measure would link the system’s re-start to the arbitrary benchmark of the U.S. unemployment rate falling below six percent.

H.R. 4078 would block rules designed to ensure power plants comply with the Clean Air Act, protect workers from beryllium exposure, make the food supply safer, ensure Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans receive compensation owed to them for extended deployments, track medical devices so patients can be made aware of recalls, establish the rules for bird-hunting season, protect people from another Wall Street meltdown and more.

“HR 4078 is a gift to the corporate criminal and wrongdoer lobby, pure and simple,” said Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, one of the leaders of the Coalition for Sensible Safeguards. “We need tighter controls over the big banks that are fixing markets, ripping us off and resuming risky practices that threaten economic stability. We need stronger rules to prevent the epidemic of needless death and injury from workplace hazards. We need far-reaching rules to avert catastrophic climate change. We need rules to ensure the safety of our food supply. And we need the government to perform its everyday functions. H.R. 4078 would block all of those efforts, in the interest of protecting Wall Street and the polluters, reckless employers and corporations that put dangerous products on the market.”

More than 30,500 activists signed Public Citizen’s petition urging Congress not to gut regulations that protect the public from corporate recklessness and rip-offs. The petition was delivered to the office of House Leader Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Friday, July 20.

“This broadside attack on regulations is the latest in a series of legislative proposals designed to mislead the public into believing that our country’s long-established system of health and safety protections must be dismantled to encourage job growth,” said, Amit Narang, regulatory policy advocate with Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division. “While our nation’s job crisis demands urgent and sustained attention, H.R. 4078 is exactly the wrong medicine. Public and private experts, business owners and a majority of economists have repeatedly stated that the U.S. regulatory system is good for business and does not impede job growth.”

On Monday, U.S. Reps. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.) joined Public Citizen and the Coalition for Sensible Safeguards in denouncing H.R. 4078. For their comments and the comments of several individuals that would be harmed if the bill becomes law, see: http://www.citizen.org/pressroom/pressroomredirect.cfm?ID=3669.

For a list of some specific rules affected by H.R. 4078, visit http://sensiblesafeguards.org/factsheets/the-safeguard-shutdown-bill/. For more information about the importance of safeguards, visit www.SensibleSafeguards.org.

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Public Citizen is a nonprofit, consumer advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit www.citizen.org.