H.R. 712 and H.R. 1155by Representative Earl Blumenauer
Posted on 2016-01-07
in the house of representatives
Thursday, January 7, 2016
Mr. BLUMENAUER. Mr. Speaker, this week, the House considered H.R.
712, the Sunshine for Regulatory Decrees and Settlements Act, and H.R.
1155, the SCRUB Act, pieces of legislation with the primary purpose of
dismantling and undermining the federal rulemaking and regulatory
process. I voted against both of these bills.
Throughout my career, as an administrator and policymaker at the local, state, and federal levels, I have often seen the value of common-sense regulations that save lives. I have also seen the challenges associated with cumbersome regulations that are difficult to comply with.
There are ways to make some regulations more efficient and easier to navigate, but we must do so in a way that protects public health, maintains our environmental protections, and ensures fair market interactions. These bills, however, are far from the mark They both would implement a ``cut-go'' approach that would require every new rule to come with the removal of another, even in cases of emergency or imminent harm to public health. This approach is absurd. Regulations often build on each other, evolving and sometimes rapidly responding to emerging challenges, and this type of restriction will only threaten the process and undermine the ability of agencies to effectively protect public health, public safety, the environment and more.
The Sunshine for Regulatory Decrees and Settlements Act, through its barriers to consent decrees, through its imposition of a moratorium on implementation until a rule is available online for six months, and through its requirement that all rules be summarized in 100 words online, regardless of how complex, only adds additional, unnecessary burdens on the rulemaking process, without actually improving it.
The underlying assumption behind these bills is that regulations are unwelcome and burdensome on communities and the economy. I frequently, however, hear from industry in my community and around the country about the importance of many government regulations, in equalizing the playing field and setting important guidelines based on science that allow them be good actors in their communities.
There are certainly outdated regulations, and there is always room for greater efficiencies, and the creation of more performance based, flexible regulatory processes. These bills however, will not get us closer to that goal, and are dangerous to public safety, to health and the environment.