After advancing the 21st Century Cures Act – which, contrary to the hype, would put patients at risk – the McConnell-Boehner Corporate Congress next week will grill the White House official in charge of our system of safeguards. It is one of several public interest attacks that we are tracking:
• Howard Shelanski, administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), will be on the hot seat not once but twice next week. OIRA is part of the White House Office of Management and Budget, where every proposed regulation must go before it is finalized. Shelanski oversees the regulatory review process. We’re talking about the rules that keep our water safe to drink, our food safe to eat, our air safe to breathe, our workplaces safe and much more.
Shelanski is scheduled to testify at a 3 p.m. oversight hearing on Wednesday, July 15, before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law, and then at 2 p.m. Thursday, July 16, before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs’ Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management. Expect lawmakers to grill him on fabricated claims of overregulation. In fact, underregulation is the norm because of constant industry pressure and conservative ideological opposition to even the most commonsense standards. Even when agencies do regulate, the public often must wait years and sometimes decades before being protected by new safeguards.
• Lawmakers are pushing to expedite the export of liquefied natural gas, despite the fact that doing so would harm consumers (see S. 33, the LNG Permitting Certainty and Transparency Act, for instance). At 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 14, the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship will hold a hearing about “challenges and opportunities” for small businesses engaged in energy development and manufacturing. Tyson Slocum, director of Public Citizen’s Energy Program, will testify, focusing on how limiting exports will keep prices lower for small businesses and household consumers.
• The Senate Finance Committee next week may take up a tax giveaway package that is of concern to public interest advocates. Public Citizen is focused on two handouts dealing with international tax issues, the “active financing” and “CFC look-through” extenders. See more information here and here.