House GOP Attacks on Regulation Serve Big Business, Not Regular Americans

Statement of Robert Weissman, President of Public Citizen and Chair of the Coalition for Sensible Safeguards

June 14, 2016

Contact: Amit Narang, anarang@citizen.org, (202) 454-5116
Michell McIntyre, mmcintyre@citizen.org, (202) 454-5156
David Rosen, drosen@citizen.org, (202) 588-7742

Note: Today, the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives and other House Republicans rolled out a plan (PDF) that would undo our nation’s system of regulatory protections.

The House Republican economic plan is nothing more than a gift bag to corporate donors and special interests. There’s no other way to explain why Republicans would pull together such a horrendous collection of bills and call it economic policy.

Remarkably, it appears that the House Republican economic agenda is based entirely on the twin ideas of rolling back science-based health, safety, consumer, worker and environmental protections, and denying victims of corporate wrongdoing of the right to seek redress in court.

If adopted, it would bring rulemaking to an absolute standstill. That means no new safeguards to ensure food safety or clean water. No new rules to protect against predatory financial practices. No new standards to reduce worker exposure to deadly hazards. No new rules that promote competition. No executive action to secure the rights of minorities, workers and LGBT people. No agency action on pharmaceutical price gouging. No new standards to avert catastrophic climate change, or guarantee clean and breathable air.

The result would be more disasters on the order of the Wall Street crash, the BP oil disaster, the deadly GM ignition switch failure, the recent wave of train derailments and explosions, and the Volkswagen emission cheating scheme. If adopted, the Republican plan not only would block government efforts to protect the public, paving the way for an avalanche of corporate wrongdoing, but it would eviscerate the right of those injured by that wrongdoing to make corporations compensate those they have injured.

House Speaker Paul Ryan claims to be a policy wonk who delves deep into the numbers and policy detail. Yet today’s plan is premised on the utterly discredited notion that regulations cost the economy trillions a year, a make-believe figure based on completely fabricated data and analysis, and trumpeted endlessly by corporate-funded think tanks and lobby groups who usually fail to even consider the benefits of regulations.

Regulation not only makes our country cleaner, safer, healthier, fairer and more secure, it makes the country wealthier. The most serious estimates of regulatory costs and benefits show that the monetized benefits of regulation far exceed the costs.

It is simply not credible for Ryan to claim that the GOP supports basic public health and safety standards while endorsing this plan. House Republicans need to go back to the drawing board.

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