We convened the Coalition for Sensible Safeguards (CSS) to defend the advances the country has made in balancing the needs of commerce with the need to protect all Americans and secure a healthy and sustainable environment. Those who attack the system of protections would have the American public believe that these protections are inconsistent with job growth. We have come together to help the public understand that a sound system of regulatory safeguards is entirely compatible with economic prosperity – indeed, essential to it.
CSS includes consumer, labor, scientific, research, good government, faith, community, 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.
Our approach includes the following elements:
The coalition responds quickly and effectively to attacks on safeguards with rebuttals, fact sheets, spokespeople with command of the facts, blog posts and op-ed pieces, and other approaches to influence the debate.
CSS will synthesize existing public opinion research on regulation, and, where needed, commission new research. The purpose of this research is to change the public narrative about regulatory protections by revealing frames and messages to communicate most effectively about the benefits of regulatory safeguards and to provide new ways to respond to various attacks.
The thrust of the attacks on safeguards has been the claim that federal safeguards suppress job growth and cost too much. To counter these myths, we will produce reports and analyses that challenge the central contention that safeguards hurt employment or cost too much.
In addition, members of the coalition will undertake research on related topics. They include:
- A retrospective look at the severe costs of irresponsible deregulation in the financial sector and other key industries
- The role of campaign contributions, lobbying, and other sources of undue influence on the regulatory process
- The cost of regulatory delay
- Societal benefits – including market-based ones – of regulation
We will use the research to help formulate coalition actions and will share findings with the public, the media, the White House, and Congress.
As recent developments 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 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, and 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, but at times, coordinated approaches orchestrating the expertise of different members of CSS will be more effective.
We also will advocate for important reforms to administrative processes that can improve rulemaking and implementation. The Obama administration, within 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.