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Regulatory reform bills damage consumer protections

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Consumers Union: Regulatory Reform Bills Would Do “Irreparable Damage” to Consumer Protections
House Vote on Three Reform Bills Expected to Begin Friday

WASHINGTON, DC – Three bills expected to be voted on by the House of Representatives beginning this week would have a devastating impact on critical consumer protections, Consumers Union wrote in a letter sent to members of the House. The organization, the public policy and advocacy division of Consumer Reports, strongly urged lawmakers to oppose the regulatory reform bills, arguing they would waste federal resources and damage health, safety and other critical consumer protections.
“These three bills would hamstring federal agencies from ensuring that American families are protected from problems such as tainted food, dirty air and water, unsafe drugs, invasions of privacy, and predatory financial schemes,” said Ellen Bloom, Senior Director of Federal Policy and CU’s Washington Office. “The proposals being considered would delay and even block the implementation of critical protections by requiring unnecessary and wasteful analyses. Congressional gridlock could wind up wasting important agency resources used in developing critical rules to protect public health and safety. Instead of streamlining the regulatory process, these so-called ‘reforms’ waste time and resources while putting consumers at risk.”
Beginning Friday, the House will vote on three bills that would undermine the ability of federal agencies to implement new policies. H.R. 3010 (the Regulatory Accountability Act) mandates that agencies adopt the least costly rule, regardless of the impact on the public. It would also require agencies to undertake numerous additional analyses and other procedural actions within the rulemaking process for every major rule, which could grind proposed necessary public health and consumer protections to a halt.
H.R. 527 (the Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act) would cover virtually any agency action that might conceivably have an indirect impact on small businesses, subjecting it to a lengthy regulatory process and making it impossible for federal agencies to quickly respond to emerging hazards.
Finally, H.R. 10 (the REINS Act) requires that any rule with an effect of $100 million or more on the economy would need the approval of both the House and Senate within 70 legislative days. With few exceptions, if Congress failed to act, the rule could not be brought up again until the next Congress.
“Each of these bills would do irreparable damage to a wide array of consumer protections and we call on policymakers to stand with consumers and reject them,” said Bloom.
For a full copy of the letter, contact David Butler or Kara Kelber at Consumers Union.

Contact: David Butler or Kara Kelber, 202-462-6262