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Bad idea to rein in regulators

Cross-posted from Politico:

These should be tough times for deregulators, who critics now link to a host of recent calamities: a massive oil spill, an economic collapse that has cost millions of jobs, countless food and toy recalls and repeated tragedies in mines and other workplaces.

Much of Congress’s activity over the past few years has been dedicated to cleaning up these messes — equipping agencies like the Food and Drug Administration and the Consumer Product Safety Commission with the resources and laws they need to keep Americans safe.

So why, in the past week alone, have House Republicans held four hearings attacking government regulations?

This rash of hearings is not just showmanship. This session, Congress will consider the REINS Act, which would require congressional approval of any major regulations before they could take effect. In effect, the bill would take important decisions about our health, safety and economy out of the hands of experts and put them in the hands of politicians beholden to corporate lobbyists and campaign contributors.
David Arkush is director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division.