Halting Life-Saving Protections for a Year Will Not Create Jobs, But Only Place Americans in Harm’s Way

“Time Out” Act Can’t Force Hazards to Take a Year Off or Compel Air, Water to be Safe; Hazardous Food, Toys Do Not Respect Moratoriums

September 13, 2011

Contact: Rich Robinson, Public Citizen, (202) 588-7773 or rrobinson@citizen.org
Brian Gumm, OMB Watch, (202) 683-4812 or bgumm@ombwatch.org

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and 16 other senators’ proposed moratorium on new regulations is a misguided attempt at blocking life-saving protections that are vital to safeguarding the most vulnerable of the nation’s citizens. The Coalition for Sensible Safeguards urges lawmakers to reject Collins’ “Regulatory Time Out Act” (S. 1538) as merely the latest attempt at placing corporate profits before public safety.

Following are responses from members of the Coalition:

“Sen. Collins’ ‘Regulatory Time Out’ bill is yet another cynical attempt by Republicans and big business groups to use the current jobs crisis as a way to block important safeguards to protect workers and the public. Their real goal is to delay rules until after the 2012 election when they hope to defeat President Obama.  Companies had an eight year moratorium on rules while the Bush administration shut down regulations and turned a blind eye to corporate abuses.  That failure to act led to the collapse of the financial system, the loss of 8 million jobs, the Upper Big branch mining disaster and other catastrophes.  We can’t and won’t let that happen again.”

Peg Seminario, Safety and Health Director
AFL-CIO

“Businesses are sitting on nearly $2 trillion in cash on their balance sheets that they could invest in the economy. Generating new standards encouraging them to upgrade their facilities and technologies is a way to create jobs. A moratorium on regulations is counterproductive to the goal of job creation.”

Katherine McFate, President and CEO
OMB Watch

“Tainted food, defective products and unsafe drugs will not be taking a year off.  When scientists uncover emerging hazards, they cannot and should not wait a year before rules that protect the public can take effect.  A one-year moratorium on rules makes no sense and cannot be defended.”

Francesca Grifo, senior scientist and director, Scientific Integrity Program
Union of Concerned Scientists

“Sen. Collins evokes the plight of small businesses with the burdens of regulation, but the real beneficiaries of any moratorium would be large banks, unregulated Wall Street traders, big polluters, drug companies and agribusinesses that want to cut corners, risking the health of our people and our economy.  Corporations are already clocking record-high profits in the wake of the recession caused by Wall Street deregulation; they don’t need any more special favors from Congress.  Congress can create jobs with smart investments in our common future and by putting more money into the hands of ordinary Americans, not by offering regulatory giveaways to corporations and hoping that they trickle down. As for small business owners, they breathe air, go to the bank, and buy food and drugs like we do. Polls often show that they support safeguards protecting our environment, our food, and our economy.”

Heather McGhee, Director, Washington Office
Dēmos

“Sen. Collins claims she is trying to help the economy and create jobs — but since when does creating more pollution create more jobs? Her legislation stops the EPA from cleaning up air pollution that causes tens of thousands of premature deaths and countless illnesses that will result in higher medical bills and lost productivity. That hurts consumers, businesses and the American economy overall. If that’s not enough, Sen. Collins’ bill also jeopardizes protections designed to prevent foodborne diseases, as well as recent laws designed to prevent big bank bailouts again. We don’t have to choose between protecting Americans and restarting our economy. Sen. Collins’ decision to side with big polluters and Tea Party extremists who want to end government protections at any costs is not just wrong — it’s dangerous for all of us.”

Scott Slesinger, Legislative Director
Natural Resources Defense Council

“A range of economic indicators makes clear that the overwhelming culprit behind the lack of adequate job creation is the need for customers, not concerns about regulatory costs or uncertainty. The regulatory uncertainty argument is distracting policy makers from focusing on the steps economists say would really promote job creation, such as investing in transportation infrastructure, spending on schools, or continuing to provide economic relief for job-seekers and working families.”

John Irons, Research and Policy Director
Economic Policy Institute

“What America needs is a moratorium on more special deals for big corporations. Sen. Collins’ proposal would benefit Big Business but would endanger Americans’ health and well-being – not to mention the stability of the economy it purports to assist.”

Robert Weissman, President
Public Citizen

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The Coalition for Sensible Safeguards is an alliance of consumer, labor, scientific, research, good government, faith, community, health, environmental, and public interest groups, along with concerned individuals who believe that our country’s system of regulatory safeguards provides a stable framework that secures our quality of life and paves the way for a sound economy that benefits us all. For more information about the coalition, go to www.sensiblesafeguards.org.