Protecting Us from the Safeguard Shutdown Bill
“In a sane media and political environment, the very concept of ending all regulations would be treated as outright idiotic -- dangerous even. This is, after all, an outright anarchist idea: Abolishing all the public protections that have made the nation a safer and fairer place to live.” –Brian Merchant
The inordinate amount of time it takes to develop effective public health and safety standards and to get them enacted illustrates a significant flaw in our regulatory system. So what does Congress do? Attempt to pass a safeguard shutdown bill that would halt the passage of standards and safeguards altogether! U.S. PIRG calls this bill “absurd…because what Congress is telling agencies is ‘don’t enforce the laws that we pass.’” It would have many other unintentional consequences. Brad Johnson from Think Progress Green names a few:
- The FDA would stop approving new drugs and preventing human experimentation
- The USDA would stop checking for food safety
- The EPA would stop monitoring for poisons in drinking water
- DHS would stop protecting chemical facilities from terrorist attacks
- The Treasury would stop printing currency
Supporters of the safeguard shutdown bill are attempting to force the American people to make the choice between the economy and the safe society we have come to expect (Does clean air, clean water or food safety ring a bell?). Despite having very little proof to support their accusations, they continue to blame regulations for killing jobs. However, this is a false choice: standards and safeguards not only help protect people, they also secure our economy by spurring innovation which create new jobs!
On the flip side, a lack of safeguards costs businesses money. Increased health costs from sick workers cost money. When tainted food and toxic products make it to the store shelves, whole industries lose billions of dollars as consumer anxieties rise.
The government is responsible for providing for the stability of health and safety of the American people. This bill will shut down safeguards and make it impossible for the government to protect its citizens.
- Proposed Legislation
- Fact Sheets
- Blogs & Articles
- Examples of Affected Regulation
- Reports & Testimonies
- Letters to Lawmakers
- The Regulatory Freeze for Jobs Act (H.R. 4078): would halt all "significant regulatory action" for two years or until the national unemployment rate falls below six percent. It contains no provisions that would create jobs or help the unemployed. Given the title of the act, it is cruel irony that it would freeze national safeguards that workers and all Americans rely upon. It would block environmental, workplace, public health, financial, and other national regulations that protect citizens. It not only would halt final rules but would also shut down the development of rules, prohibiting agencies from seeking information or soliciting public comments on proposed safeguards.
- The Midnight Rule Relief Act (H.R. 4607): would essentially shut down regulatory agencies as soon as a new president is elected. At any given time, including after a presidential election, there are many rules that have been under development for months, if not years. These rules should not be blocked just because their finalization date happens to fall at the end of a president's term. A new administration has the power to withdraw or amend rules it objects to.
- The Sunshine for Regulatory Decrees and Settlement Act (H.R. 3862): would prevent the federal government from having to follow the law; it would reward individuals who want the federal government to keep breaking the law because it benefits them. Consider the situation in which a federal agency commits a gross violation of a federal law and a state challenges that violation in court. Currently, state and federal agencies can quickly resolve that legal violation through a consent decree or settlement agreement without wasting judicial resources while ensuring federal law is upheld and the state’s valid legal interests are safeguarded. H.R. 3862 throws a wrench in this streamlined process by giving third parties the right to obstruct and delay a plaintiff’s legal right to ensure the law is followed and the plaintiff’s interests are protected. By interfering with a court’s ability to oversee consent decrees and the ability of parties to enter into settlements, this bill would cause delay, greatly increase the costs of litigation and impede the resolution of lawsuits.
- Safeguards Shutdown Bills: How Regulatory Moratorium Bills Put Americans At Risk
- The Impact of Safeguard Shutdown Bills: Factsheets by State
- The Cost of Regulatory Delay
- Bringing the heat of reality to a GOP freeze on public safeguards – Public Citizen
- Maybe It’s Time for a Moratorium on Bad Ideas in the House of Representatives – Center for Effective Government
- Don’t Freeze Our Public Health and Consumer Safety Protections – U.S. PIRG
- Nonsense: House Bill Conflates Regulatory Uncertainty with Economic Uncertainty – Alliance for Justice
- Even Cass Sunstein Says GOP’s Proposed Regulatory Moratorium would Be “Like a Nuclear Bomb” – Think Progress
- Rick Perry Wants a “Moratorium on All Regulations” – Treehugger
- Halting Regulatory Action would delay important new protections Americans deserve
- Why an Unprecedented Effort To Shut Down Safeguards Is A Damaging Idea
- Robert Weissman’s Written Testimony: H.R. 4078 – Regulatory Freeze for Jobs Act – Public Citizen
- Lives At Risk: the Local Impact of Federal “Regulatory Reform” Proposals – Demos
- Coalition Sign On Letter against the “Red Tape Reduction and Small Business Job Creation Act"
- CSS Opposes Regnibus Bill - “Red Tape Reduction and Small Business Job Creation Act" (H.R. 4078)
- Coalition letter to lawmakers opposing FREEZE (H.R. 4078)
- “Job Killers” in the News: Allegation without Verification – University of Northern Iowa
- A Lifesaver, Not a Job Killer: EPA’s Proposed “Air Toxic Rule” is No Threat to Job Growth – Economic Policy Institute
- A Quick Guide to the Evidence on Regulations and Jobs – Economic Policy Institute