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White House Pursuit of Extremist to Be Nation’s Regulatory Czar Is Insult to Congress, Public

Jan. 10, 2007

White House Pursuit of Extremist to Be Nation’s Regulatory Czar Is Insult to Congress, Public

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A Bush administration plan to appoint Susan Dudley as a senior advisor while asking Congress to reconsider her nomination by the president to be the administration’s top regulatory czar is an affront to Congress and the American public, Public Citizen said today.

Dudley, an anti-regulatory advocate at the industry-funded think tank Mercatus Center, was widely opposed when nominated in July 2006 to become administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in the Office of Management and Budget – an obscure but powerful position with the ability to stall or weaken regulations to protect the public health, safety, privacy, civil rights and the environment.

Dudley’s nomination was the subject of a committee hearing but was not allowed to proceed to a committee vote in 2006. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), then chair of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, blocked a vote because, she said, it was, “pointless to proceed to a markup when the nomination isn’t going anywhere.”

On Tuesday, the White House renominated Dudley, setting up a confrontation with the new Democratically controlled Congress. In the meantime, though, a Bush administration official has said that the White House plans to appoint her as a senior advisor.

As documented in a report by Public Citizen and OMB Watch, “The Cost Is Too High: How Susan Dudley Threatens Public Protections,” Dudley has opposed life-saving protections such as rules requiring advanced air bags, improved standards on arsenic in drinking water and mandatory decreases in ground-level ozone.

“Dudley is utterly unfit for the job,” said Joan Claybrook, president of Public Citizen.   “The White House is again displaying its contempt for carrying out and enforcing the law to protect the public.”

Added Robert Shull, Public Citizen’s deputy director for auto safety and regulatory policy and co-author of the report on Dudley, “The White House is wasting the Senate’s time by sending back this radical extremist. The president struck a note of bipartisan cooperation after the November elections. Renominating Dudley shows that it’s back to highly partisan business as usual for the White House.”