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May 10, 2011

U.S. House Anti-Regulatory Hearings: Political Grandstanding Substitutes for Public Policymaking

Several committees of the U.S. House of Representatives have announced plans for hearings this week with titles that suggest that little in the way of objective fact is likely to be sought or found. Some of the more surreal hearing titles this week:

"EPA Mining Policies: Assault on Appalachian Jobs -- Part II" (Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure | Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment)

"Green Isn't Always Gold: Are EPA Regulations Harming Small Businesses?" (Committee on Small Business | Subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations and Regulations)

"Politicizing Procurement: Will President Obama's Proposal Curb Free Speech & Hurt Small Business? ( Committee on Oversight and Government Reform)

"Examining the Costs of Federal Overreach into School Meals" (Committee on Education and the Workforce) The return of ketchup as a vegetable?

What's next? Maybe "Rethinking the Benefits of Child Labor in the Mining Industry?"

May 4, 2011

Worker Safety Protections Threatened by Anti-Regulatory Onslaught in Congress

A number of bills have been introduced this session in both the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate that would dramatically limit OSHA's ability to do its job of protecting workers' safety and health. Proponents of these measures argue that OSHA and other federal agencies's protections of the public's health and safety are overly burdensome. They paint a portrait of regulatory agencies run amok, issuing a constant stream of burdensome regulations.

As an excellent flowchart produced by Public Citizen demonstrates, this could hardly be farther from the truth. The Public Citizen analysis notes that any proposed new government regulation must pass through a long series of steps involving rigorous cost-benefit analysis, public comment, review by the Office of Management and Budget, review by the Small Business Administration, etc.

Perhaps most dangerous among the current legislative proposals is the "REINS" (Regulations from the Executive In Need of Scrutiny) Act, H.R. 10. This Act would turn the regulatory process upside down, enabling a single chamber of Congress to veto any government regulation simply by failing to take any action!

Click here to read more about the REINS Act and other legislation currently being considered by the Congress.

Click here for a collection of resources to help you fight back against the anti-regulatory onslaught in Congress.