Our country’s system of regulatory protections provides a stable framework that secures our quality of life and paves the way for a sound economy.
Federal regulations dealing with food and consumer products, safe air and drinking water, healthy working conditions, equal opportunity, and reliable financial structures, for example, protect all of us from harm.
Failure to provide adequate safeguards diminishes economic well-being, undermines public health and safety, and allows special interests to escape accountability for their actions. Wall Street and big corporations have benefited from this failure at the expense of average Americans.
Powerful special interests are working with sympathetic politicians to roll back public protections, create roadblocks that would tie the hands of federal agencies and cut funding for enforcement of important rules that are already in place.
These attacks target not only safeguards but also the role of government itself as a protector of the middle class and vulnerable populations. In recent years, special interests have attacked federal protections through:
- Proposed spending cuts for key agencies
- Riders to budget bills that limit agency actions
- Proposed legislation that would hamstring agencies and give special interests unfair advantages
- Initiatives to devolve federal responsibilities to the states
- Wasteful congressional hearings, investigations, and time-consuming requests for reports
We convened the Coalition for Sensible Safeguards (CSS) to defend the advances America has made in balancing the needs of commerce with the need to protect all Americans and secure a healthy and sustainable economy.
We have come together to help the public understand that a sound system of regulatory safeguards is entirely compatible with economic prosperity – and indeed, essential to it.
CSS includes consumer, labor, scientific, research, good government, faith, community, public health, and environmental groups as well as concerned individuals.
The coalition is committed to offering a sustained response to the current attacks on public protections while promoting ways to strengthen public protections and encourage sound enforcement.
About Our Work
Our goal is to raise awareness of the threats to our system of safeguards and serve as advocates on Capitol Hill to ensure that lawmakers do not undermine standards that protect the environment, workplace safety, financial security and public health. Our approach includes the following elements:
CSS will respond quickly and effectively to attacks on safeguards using press releases, fact sheets, blog posts, talking points, editorial board memos, letters to policymakers, op-ed pieces, online and social media tools, as well as spokespeople with a deep understanding of regulatory issues to influence the debate.
CSS will synthesize existing public opinion research on regulation, commission original studies and share relevant reports, studies and polls produced by members of the coalition. The purpose of this research is to change the public narrative about regulatory protections. In addition, members of the coalition will undertake research on related topics. They will focus on:
- The severe costs of irresponsible deregulation in the financial sector and other key industries
- The role of campaign contributions, lobbying and other improper influences that distort the regulatory process
- The costs of regulatory delay
- The benefits – both economic and qualitative – of regulation
We will use the research to help build coalition actions and will share key findings with the public, the media, the White House and Congress.
As recent disasters in mining, food safety, toy manufacturing, nuclear energy and financial markets make clear, there is an ongoing need to review and improve the umbrella of public protection.
CSS will work to extend regulatory protections in these and other areas. CSS members will also conduct briefings for legislators and their staff, agency administrators as well as media analysts and commentators when critical issues are in play.
Individual organizations in the coalition will continue to respond to issues in their specific areas of concern, while coordinating with the coalition to increase everyone’s effectiveness.
CSS will also advocate for important reforms to administrative processes that can improve the efficacy and efficiency rulemaking.
The White House, within its existing authority, can improve the quality of rulemaking by simplifying the process by which safeguards are developed, reviewed, implemented, and enforced; making the rulemaking process more transparent; and ensuring that agencies have the resources necessary to make and implement sound decisions.