Package of Bills Would Worsen – Not Reform – Our Regulatory System

Statement of Opposition From the Coalition for Sensible Safeguards

July 22, 2015

Contact: Amit Narang (202) 454-5116
David Rosen (202) 588-7742
Brian Gumm (202) 683-4812

Note: Today, U.S. Sens. James Lankford (R-Okla.) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) introduced a package of anti-regulatory bills: the Smarter Regulations Through Advance Planning and Review Act, the Principled Rulemaking Act and the Early Participation in Regulations Act.

While the Coalition for Sensible Safeguards (CSS) agrees with the sponsors of this legislation that our regulatory process needs fixing, these bills would worsen the system, not reform it.

  • Principled Rulemaking Act: This bill layers on numerous additional requirements to the federal rulemaking process rather than streamlining it. Those include requiring agencies to select the least costly rule to industry, thereby overriding agency-specific missions to protect the public and allowing industry to sue agencies if its preferred rule is not adopted. It would subject all agency rules, even the most non-controversial, to these requirements, and would greatly delay and discourage resource-starved agencies from protecting the public and our financial security.
  • Early Participation in Regulations Act: This bill adds more delays to the rulemaking process across the board. It would require agencies to issue advance notices of their rules – a redundant and often unnecessary step that would prevent agencies from responding swiftly and effectively to public health and safety disasters.
  • Smarter Regulations Through Advance Planning and Review Act: Retrospective review should be a balanced process that offers agencies the possibility of strengthening rules that are found to be too weak. This bill would force agencies to adopt a one-sided approach that only seeks to weaken or repeal rules. The bill would require agencies to continually review existing rules, rather than spending time developing and issuing new needed protections.

The real problem is that our current regulatory system is too slow and cumbersome to protect working families and consumers from real and emerging threats to their health, safety and financial security, and to our environment. All too often, rules are delayed for decades, and those that are finally issued are too weak due to industry lobbying.

Reforms aimed at improving the regulatory process should streamline rulemaking so it is more efficient and effective in protecting the public. Such real reforms would enhance the enormous benefits that regulatory standards provide to the public.

CSS stands ready to work with members of Congress to make our regulatory system work for the American people.

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The Coalition for Sensible Safeguards is an alliance of more than 150 consumer, labor, scientific, research, faith, community, environmental, small business, good government, public health and public interest groups — representing millions of Americans. We are joined in the belief that our country’s system of regulatory safeguards should secure our quality of life, pave the way for a sound economy and benefit us all. Learn more at www.SensibleSafeguards.org.