On Thursday, the House voted on H.R. 4078, the GOP's so-called Red Tape Reduction and Small Business Job Creation Act. Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa (HI-01) voted against the measure.
"This bill deprives the public of vital safeguards that protect interests that individuals cannot protect themselves, and surrenders the government's obligation to serve the public. Appropriate regulations are the government's way of preserving the health, safety, and well being of our communities, and I cannot see how the wholesale blocking of important regulations helps anyone in the long run," said Hanabusa.
"We saw how a refusal to regulate Wall Street threatened our entire national economy. There is no question that clean air and clean water regulations have protected public health and our natural environment. It is our job to help protect the people we serve."
The GOP omnibus is a compilation of seven bills that will undermine the public's regulatory safeguards. Provisions in the bill would interfere with the work federal agencies do to protect the health and safety of the public, as well as the welfare of our environment and economic growth.
The measure imposes a moratorium on any new federal regulations, with only very narrowly defined exceptions, in order to reduce and streamline the regulatory process. It also bars executive agencies from taking "significant regulatory action" until the Labor Department certifies the national unemployment rate is 6% or less. The term "significant regulatory action" is so broad that it could apply to virtually any regulation.
The bill would shut down the development of new rules, prohibiting agencies from seeking information or soliciting public comments on proposed safeguards. This would block key safeguards like food safety, consumer safety, Wall Street oversight, and clean air and water that protect American families. The measure also prohibits the administration from issuing significant regulations between Election Day and Inauguration Day.
H.R. 4078 undermines the environmental review process by setting deadlines on agency reviews in order to expedite the process for federally funded projects and for federal permits for private projects. It also limits the grounds for civil actions filed against an environmental review or permit approval.
The bill requires the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) to conduct cost-benefit analyses of all new regulatory proposals, and allows private interests to intervene in the process of developing consent decrees and settlement agreements that require federal agencies to take specified regulatory actions. This provision would severely limit individuals' rights to seek redress for a federal agency's failure to carry out laws designed to protect people from predatory banks and hazardous pollution.
The bill passed by a vote of 245 to 172 and now heads to the Senate.