EPI Policy Center Strongly Opposes the Regulatory Accountability Act

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EPI Policy Center Strongly Opposes the Regulatory Accountability Act

In a letter to the Senate Committee on Homeland Services and Government Affairs, Heidi Shierholz and Celine McNicholas of the EPI Policy Center expressed their opposition to S. 951, the Regulatory Accountability Act of 2017 (RAA), and urged senators to vote against the proposal.

The RAA is designed to paralyze the regulatory process, weakening the ability of federal agencies to make rules and issue guidance that protect the health and wellbeing of working people and the public. By adding a number of onerous and time-consuming requirements, the RAA gives corporate special interests even more opportunities to influence the rulemaking process.

“This bill reveals a willingness to place corporate concerns ahead of the American people.” said Shierholz. “The purpose of regulations is to keep workers safe, protect consumers, and safeguard the environment. This bill is a chance for members of Congress to show whose side they are on.”

The EPI letter highlights the serious threat the RAA would pose to important worker protections. For example, the Department of Labor’s “silica rule” would have been threatened by the RAA due to the upfront costs to businesses that would have to invest in safety equipment. The RAA would have forced the DOL to consider only these upfront costs, and not the benefits of reduced illness and saved lives over decades.

“The intent of the RAA is crystal clear,” said McNicholas. “The bill puts corporate profits ahead of the public interest, gutting federal agencies’ ability to issue rules that protect workers and consumers. It will further draw out already-lengthy rulemaking procedures and give corporate special interests unprecedented power to interfere with and delay the regulatory process, all at a cost to taxpayers.”

The RAA is one piece of President Trump and congressional Republicans’ radical anti-regulatory and anti-worker agenda, which is being advanced with little consideration for the importance of regulations to workers, consumers, and the environment. Agency rules can have broad benefits in terms of public health, environmental protections, and worker protections that vastly outweigh the compliance costs for businesses.

The Economic Policy Institute, a nonprofit Washington D.C. think tank, was created in 1986 to broaden the discussion about economic policy to include the interests of low- and middle-income workers. Today, with global competition expanding, wage inequality rising, and the methods and nature of work changing in fundamental ways, it is as crucial as ever that people who work for a living have a voice in the economic discourse.

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