Senate Majority Attacks the Rulemaking Process, but Their So-Called Reforms Would Make It Worse

Coalition for Sensible Safeguards Statement

March 18, 2015

Contact: David Rosen, drosen@citizen.org, (202) 588-7742
Angela Bradbery, abradbery@citizen.org, (202) 588-7741
Brian Gumm, bgumm@foreffectivegov.org, (202) 683-4812

Note: On Thursday, the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management will hold a hearing titled, “Examining Federal Rulemaking Challenges and Areas of Improvement Within the Existing Regulatory Process.”

The federal rulemaking process needs reform, but don’t expect the U.S. Senate majority to give the most constructive proposals a fair hearing. Instead, its proposed bills would add dozens of new hurdles to the regulatory process, creating more regulatory uncertainty and further undermining our system of public protections.

Our regulatory system is already plagued by needless delays. New rules take years, and sometimes more than a decade, to make their way through the multi-agency review and approval process. These delays come at a high: cost: tens of thousands of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars each year. Imposing even more hurdles, as the majority proposes to do, would raise the costs even higher.

Regulated industries already have too many opportunities to rig the rules in their favor and delay critical new safeguards that would protect American workers and families. Just last week, railroad lobbyists met with federal regulators to block new standards that would prevent future accidents, even as fires from a recently exploded oil train continued to burn. Incredibly, the majority is proposing legislation that would give big businesses special access to regulators – while excluding the public.

These so-called “solutions” will only make matters worse. Instead of compounding the problems with the rulemaking process, this committee should focus on reforms that eliminate unnecessary delays, increase accountability to the public and decrease the influence of corporate lobbyists.

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The Coalition for Sensible Safeguards is a national 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. For more information about the coalition, go to www.SensibleSafeguards.org.