Six hundred of the largest U.S. corporations and trade groups lobbied Congress this year to weaken public safeguards, and 71 of them bought $59.5 million worth of influence in the first quarter of 2017.
According to maplight.org, Sen. Pat Toomey has received $5.3 million from these groups since 2010.
All this money buys yes votes for Senate Bill 951, the Regulatory Accountability Act of 2017. Forget accountability, SB951 erases decades of hard-won “best practice” rulemaking procedures.
SB951 requires agencies to base regulations on “least costly” rubrics — to engage in endless hair-splitting over human life versus corporate gain. New safeguards necessary in emergencies will be impossible to enact. Groundbreaking regulations such as the Clean Air Act and the Consumer Product Safety Act, which required consideration of the public interest, will be impossible to uphold.
Major rules costing more than $1 billion will be subject to hearings, and the certainty of going up against corporations with bottomless resources. The court’s judgment will be allowed to supersede federal agency expertise. Agencies will be subject to “gag orders” on new rules, unable to defend against corporate attacks and prohibited from issuing policy guidance statements on new rules.
This bill constructs a rat’s nest of corporate interests, resource-and-time-consuming hearings, and an expert-deprived politically motivated judiciary and administration to halt the work of federal agencies seeking to create protections for all of us.
Rep. Lloyd Smucker voted yes for the House version of SB951. He voted in favor of wasting agency resources, increasing regulatory uncertainty, increasing the costs of enacting regulations, and placing the health and safety of Americans at the bottom of his priority list.
Tell Toomey to realign his priorities and vote no on SB951. Our legislators should work to strengthen protections, not deconstruct them.