WASHINGTON – May 25 – Yet another one-sided hearing is being held today in the U.S. House of Representatives that attempts to portray many commonsense health and safety safeguards as economic obstacles.
The hearing, “Unfunded Mandates, Regulatory Burdens, and the Role of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs,” is by the House Subcommittee on Technology, Information Policy, Intergovernmental Relations and Procurement Reform. That’s part of the Committee on Government Oversight and Reform, chaired by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.). He is the lawmaker who late last year invited 150 trade associations, corporations and think tanks to provide their wish lists of public health, environmental and other public protections that they would like to see eliminated.
Lost in this anti-regulation approach is the reality that regulations help society: They help make our air clean, our water and food safe to consume, our financial system safe to invest in, our workplaces less hazardous, and much more.
What business interests and their friends in Congress refuse to acknowledge is that government agencies are responsible for protecting the public. It’s their job. They safeguard the environment, food, workplaces, the financial system and consumer products, and regulations are one of the essential tools they use to do it.
The current push in Congress to hamstring the agencies by creating more hoops for them to jump through and slashing their funding threatens the well-being of American families. If these efforts are successful, Americans will suffer. The BP oil spill disaster, the Massey coal mine explosion and the crash of Wall Street were directly linked to the lack of regulation.
Congress would do well to remember that.