July 20, 2001
Senate Puts Graham on Notice to Protect
Public Health, Safety and the Environment
Statement of Public Citizen President Joan Claybrook
While the outcome of yesterdays Senate vote to confirm John Graham as the countrys next regulatory overseer is disappointing, the significant number of senators who voted against Graham -- 37 -- comes as a promising sign that more lawmakers are paying close attention to the Bush anti-safety agenda. While the president already has rolled back sensible health, safety and environmental regulations that protect countless Americans, Congress and the public are awakening to the fact that Bushs anti-regulatory agenda gives corporations a blank check to delay, block and gut health and safety standards.
However, the opposition on the Senate floor to Grahams nomination is only the beginning of the fight against the Bush agenda. Yesterdays vote puts Graham on notice that the voices of public health experts must be heard over those who expect to use the Office of Management and Budgets Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) as a back door for special interests. As OIRA administrator, Graham will be scrutinized closely, not only because of his ties to industry, but also because his past use of bean-counting methods in his industry-funded research illustrates his aversion to health, safety and environmental regulations. To this end, Public Citizen will launch "Graham Watch" to monitor his decisions and see how they help his former corporate benefactors.
Public Citizen commends the leadership of Sens. Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.) and Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), whose efforts were crucial in the opposition of Grahams appointment. They are true champions of consumers, workers and the environment.
The position of OIRA administrator is critical in reviewing regulations that are often the last line of defense for the health and safety of Americans. Given the opposition of over one-third of the Senate to his appointment, John Graham would be wise to use his clout to protect ordinary Americans rather than serve as a tool of industry