Saturday, December 3, 2016

Narrow purpose of making money

While Congress passes laws, it is the various federal agencies that implement them. To do that these agencies create regulations. For example (and please take this as an example and not whether my description is accurate): Congress passes a Clean Air Act. It is the Environmental Protection Agency that determines that carbon dioxide is a pollutant and needs to be restricted. The EPA consults scientists, does research, crafts rules, holds a public comment period, faces down industry, and finally issues a new regulation about how much C02 may be emitted from a power plant. The EPA must base it all on sound science because it will have to defend the regulation in court.

According to Mark Sumner of Daily Kos, getting rid of a regulation is a whole lot easier, and doesn’t require any science at all.

Back in the early 1990s Newt Gingrich and his Contract With America came up with the Congressional Review Act. Congress can pass a bill to toss any regulation. Such a bill cannot be stalled or filibustered. No public hearings needed, no public comment, no scientific review, no environmental impact study, nothing but a vote and a prez. signature. And once signed federal agencies cannot replace it with a new regulation that is “substantially the same” until another vote from Congress permits it.

Say goodbye to regulations that prevent pollution, keep workers safe, keep products from poisoning us, protect a rare species, keep a shoreline free of oil, slow climate change, or keep banks from loading us with fees.

The CRA has been used – once. Bush II repealed one worker safety rule. But with the GOP controlling government the CRA could be pulled out daily.

Congress is looking into creating a companion to the CRA. The CRA allows them to toss regulations. The companion, the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act (REINS Act), would prevent new regulations from being created. It would do that by requiring Congress to review all new regulations based on – not health, safety, environment, consumer protections, or anything else – only cost. And Congress gets to define how to interpret cost.
Take a deep breath. Now hold it. It may be a long time before you can take another without risk.

Dave Johnson at the Campaign for America’s Future says repealing regulations is anti-democracy:
Underlying Trump’s plan to “eliminate” government regulations is the premise that “government regulation” is itself a bad thing. And underlying that is the premise that government of by and for the people itself is illegitimate. It gets in the way of business. We the People making decisions interferes with efficient decision-making done for the narrow purpose of making money

No comments:

Post a Comment