House-Passed Bill Would Make New Public Health Protections Nearly Impossible

Statement by Dr. Jennifer Jones, Union of Concerned Scientists

Published Jun 14, 2023

WASHINGTON (June 14, 2023)—Today, the U.S. House of Representatives narrowly passed H.R.277, the REINS Act. This bill would make it difficult if not impossible for the federal government to issue new rules protecting public health and safety, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

Below is a statement by Dr. Jennifer Jones, director of the Center for Science and Democracy at UCS.

“The REINS Act would make future public health protections nearly impossible—and that’s by design.

“Laws like the Clean Air Act and the Chemical Safety Act have a simple process: the law tells federal agencies what they have to do, and agencies use their scientific and technical expertise to implement and enforce those laws. The REINS Act turns that process upside-down, making it impossible to enforce these laws unless Congress separately approves every rule created to implement them. Inevitably, that would result in Congress substituting their political judgement for the agencies’ scientific expertise, mire urgent protections in gridlock, and enable powerful industry interests or ideological extremists to derail any rule they disapproved of. Proponents of this bill know full well that it’s designed to undermine and stymie the policymaking process, putting communities across the country at risk.

“This is an embarrassing bill that should never have passed the House.”