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Feb. 8, 2017

Public Citizen to Spicer: Now Is the Time to Revoke the Wrongheaded Executive Order on Regulations

Statement of Robert Weissman, President, Public Citizen

Note: At a press briefing today, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer commented on Public Citizen v. Trump, a lawsuit that Public Citizen filed today to block President Donald Trump’s executive order on regulations. Spicer told reporters that the lawsuit “presumes a lot of outcomes that are wildly inaccurate.”

Our lawsuit “presumes a lot of outcomes” that are precisely what Trump’s regulatory executive order intends.

The Trump regulatory executive order focuses irrationally on regulatory costs to the exclusion of regulatory benefits and arbitrarily demands that two rules be removed for every new one adopted. The predictable and certain “outcome” of that approach is to grind to a halt the process by which new rules are adopted to protect health and safety, the environment, worker rights and consumer well-being.

If the White House is surprised about what the Trump regulatory executive order will mean in practical terms, it might have been helpful for it to have considered the stakes before issuing the executive order. Now would be a good time to revoke it.

President Trump and his advisers have spent a lot of time invoking fanciful, fact-free claims about the overall cost of regulation, as spokesperson Sean Spicer again did today. He also said the lawsuit has no “basis in fact.”

Well, Mr. Spicer, in fact, the monetary benefits of public protections vastly exceed their costs.

In fact, blocking smart new standards will impose devastating human costs. The Wall Street crash, the BP oil disaster, the Volkswagen emissions cheating scandal, the GM ignition switch failure that killed at least 174 people, numerous mining disasters, contaminated food outbreaks, the coal ash poisoning of the Dan River, the Wells Fargo fake account scandal – all of these extraordinary abuses are examples of regulatory failure and why we need stronger regulatory protections, an “outcome” made impossible by the Trump regulatory executive order.

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