By Geof Koss, CQ Staff
House Republicans are making good on pledges to try to shrink the size of government by bringing legislation to the floor in coming days that would restrain the regulatory powers of executive branch agencies.
The House already has passed bills this year targeting specific regulations, especially those from the EPA. But the upcoming measures collectively represent a wholesale attempt to overhaul the federal regulatory apparatus by imposing new cost-benefit considerations on rulemaking, requiring congressional approval for rules with major economic effects and making it easier for outside parties to challenge agency actions in courts.
Industry has long sought the rulemaking changes, which supporters maintain will create jobs and boost the economy by limiting unnecessary regulations. Critics charge that the bills would undercut public health and consumer protections by tying the hands of regulators.
“Each of these bills would make it virtually impossible for federal agencies to ensure that American families are protected from tainted food, unsafe drugs, predatory financial schemes, dirty air and water, and dangerous workplaces,” wrote the Coalition for Sensible Safeguards, which includes more than 70 consumer and public interest groups, in a Tuesday letter to lawmakers.
The measures “are dangerous proposals that will not create one new job or solve any of the pressing problems facing our country,” wrote the coalition, which includes Public Citizen and OMB Watch. “Instead, they will waste federal resources and increase the power of big corporations over American families.” [Please go to CQ for more on this story.]