The House Judiciary Committee has moved one step closer to approving the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act (H.R. 10), a bill that would undermine the public protections most crucial to our health, safety, environment and economy. The Coalition for Sensible Safeguards (CSS) strongly opposes the REINS Act and its attempts to radically alter the balance of power in government and jeopardize the public interest.
The REINS Act would require Congressional approval of all major federal rules within 70 legislative days. Without approval, the rules would be nullified. If enacted, the bill will bog down these rules in Congressional gridlock and endanger the commonsense standards that protect the food our families eat, the air our children breathe and the products we buy for our homes. The bill could also undermine new laws regulating Wall Street and expanding access to health care.
During a recent hearing of the Subcommittee on Courts, Commercial and Administrative Law, a letter sent by 72 labor, environmental, consumer advocacy, health care and other public interest organizations opposing the REINS Act was entered into the record. The group wrote:
H.R. 10 would threaten new safeguards by causing unnecessary delay. H.R. 10 would also give special interests another opportunity to undermine public protections.
The REINS Act may well have been approved by the Judiciary Committee by the time this issue is received. Once approved, the bill will move to the full House of Representatives. It’s believed by CSS that House leaders will make the bill a high priority. David Goldston, director of government affairs for the Natural Resources Defense Council (a member organization of CSS), testified before the committee. Interestingly, he was the only witness on the panel opposed to H.R. 10. He stated:
The bill could, in effect, impose a slow-motion government shutdown, and it would replace a process based on expertise, rationality and openness with one characterized by political maneuvering, economic clout and secrecy. The public would be less protected, and the political system would be more abused. Indeed, it is hard to imagine a more far-reaching, fundamental and damaging shift in the way the government goes about its business of safeguarding the public.
If folks in every state knew what really goes on in our Nation’s Capitol, I suspect there would be more ordinary citizens protesting than even that which we have seen so far from the Tea Party groups. The national media does a poor job – at best – of putting out information about happenings in Washington that the American people can really understand. The lobbyists in our Nation’s Capitol do a most effective job of pushing their agendas and few of them push programs that benefit ordinary folks.
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