Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act Would Undermine Agencies’ Ability to Protect Americans, Public Citizen Tells House Lawmakers

June 28, 2013

Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act Would Undermine Agencies’ Ability to Protect Americans, Public Citizen Tells House Lawmakers

Amit Narang, Public Citizen’s Regulatory Policy Advocate Testifies Before House Subcommittee

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The proposed Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act (RFIA) is a solution in search of a problem, Amit Narang, Public Citizen’s regulatory policy advocate, said in testimony before a U.S. House Judiciary subcommittee on Friday. Although the legislation purports to provide small businesses with regulatory relief, the legislation will actually give big business interests an even more effective tool to avoid commonsense regulatory standards and safeguards.

“This legislation will do little to help genuine small businesses, and will come at an enormous cost in terms of undermining our federal agencies’ ability to provide crucial public health and safety protections, civil rights, workers’ rights, consumer safety standards and environmental standards,” Narang said.

The legislation makes drastic and unnecessary reforms to the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) which, in turn, would place great pressure on federal agencies to consider almost all of their rules as significantly impacting small business, even in cases where the rule is setting public health and safety standards only for large companies. As a result, agencies would be bogged down in senseless busywork in a search for effects on small businesses that simply do not exist.

In his testimony, Narang said, “Since the RFIA does not provide any funding for the significant added mandates it imposes on federal agencies, the end result will be, at a minimum, further delayed public protections, with many crucial new safeguards never seeing the light of day. Congress should instead explore ways to provide direct assistance to real small businesses while preserving our country’s system of existing safeguards and our government’s ability to respond to emerging threats.

“The RFIA is another in a long string of so-called ‘regulatory reform’ measures that are designed to slow down or prevent agencies from carrying out their congressionally required responsibilities to protect the health and safety of the American public.”

Narang’s testimony is available at:

https://www.citizen.org/sites/default/files/narang_06282013.pdf

The Coalition for Sensible Safeguards, an alliance of groups that Public Citizen co-chairs, sent members of Congress a letter Thursday outlining their opposition to the bill. The letter is available at:

https://www.citizen.org/sites/default/files/css_regflex-letter.pdf

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