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Business Trade Groups Drive Anti-Regulation Effort in Congress

Bills would impede the use of federal science and weaken public protections

The problem

In the 112th Congress, there has been a concerted effort to limit the ability of federal agencies, including scientific and regulatory agencies, to do their work. These efforts, supported by the Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers, will create new procedural hurdles for agencies trying to implement new rules.

All these legislative proposals have one goal: To make it easier for corporations to disrupt the rule-making process. As a consequence, it will be harder for agencies to do their job of protecting public health and safety and the environment.

In the name of creating jobs, Congress is pushing to severely weaken the power of federal agencies to implement laws that have been on the books for decades and have long enjoyed bipartisan support, such as the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act.

There is little or no evidence that regulations cost jobs. Indeed, according to a 2011 study by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), large layoffs are more likely to be caused by bad weather than by rules! Rules have not been major obstacles to job growth, and their benefits consistently have outweighed their costs, according to EPI. Regulations can have many positive impacts, the study notes: improving work health and safety can lead to increased productivity, and as businesses adapt to new rules, they often innovate, boosting the economy.

When the UCS Scientific Integrity Program surveyed food safety scientists and inspectors at the FDA and USDA last year, nearly 40 percent agreed that “public health has been harmed by agency practices that defer to business.” One-quarter of respondents also reported that they had personally experienced “situations where corporate interests have forced the withdrawal or significant modification of [an agency] policy or action designed to protect consumers or public health.”

UCS is committed to fighting these harmful legislative proposals.

UCS is participating in the Coalition for Sensible Safeguards, which includes more than 50 scientific, environmental, public health, consumer, labor, faith and public interest groups working together to fight against regulatory pushback. The Coalition for Sensible Safeguards is dedicated to working with members of Congress on both sides of the aisle to ensure a strong science-based regulatory process that protects the public.

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