Mr. FINCHER. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to discuss my bill, the Sound Science Act of 2013, which directs the Office of Science and Technology Policies (OSTP) to require each agency to develop guidelines to maximize the quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of scientific information used by federal agencies.
My legislation requires appropriate peer review, the disclosure of scientific studies used in making decisions, and an opportunity for stakeholder input. It also requires federal agencies to give greatest weight to information based on reproducible data that is developed in accordance with the scientific method. Further, it deems agency actions that do not follow such procedures to be arbitrary and subject to challenge by affected stakeholders.
Mr. Speaker, many of the regulations developed by the federal agencies are well intentioned, yet recently there have been reports that federal agencies, such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), may be moving well beyond hard-science in the rule making process, which would have significant negative impacts on a wide range of industries. For example, some outside interest groups are pressuring the FDA to take action against antimicrobial soaps, asserting that antimicrobial soaps are no more effective than common soap, even though antimicrobial soap has been mandated in hospitals and doctors' offices for decades. Additionally, chicken and pork farmers are concerned that the FDA's decision to review long-standing industry practices in the area of antibiotics without a sound scientific basis will adversely affect animal welfare and will have a negative impact on food safety.
Simply put, the rules and regulations promulgated by federal agencies affect both businesses and the consumer. Bottom line, the U.S. economy is in a fragile state, any hurdle, fee, or foreign advantage, will cost the U.S. economy valuable jobs. Higher costs to comply with regulations undermine businesses ability to compete globally, while causing consumers to pay more for products.
Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues in the House (and Senate) to support me in passing the Sound Science Act of 2013 in order to ensure the scientific integrity of federal agencies.