Regulatory Accountability Act (RAA) Would Hurt Consumers

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Regulatory Accountability Act (RAA) Would Hurt Consumers

-U.S. PIRG urges Senate Committee to oppose in vote scheduled for Wednesday-

WASHINGTON - A leading consumer group, U.S. PIRG, urges Members of the Senate Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee to oppose the Regulatory Accountability Act (S. 951) to be voted on in committee on Wednesday, May 17.  The group said the bill would make an already complicated regulatory process even worse by imposing lengthy requirements on agency efforts to enact safeguards in areas ranging from financial reform to consumer and worker protection, food safety and the environment.

Chief sponsor of the RAA is Senator Rob Portman (R-OH).  The bill is a companion to the House-passed HR 5, and while the RAA bills are not identical, both would impose massive layers of redundant bureaucracy onto government agencies, including independent agencies.

“Agencies already are required to address every single benefit-cost and other requirement in this bill,” said Ed Mierzwinski, the Consumer Program Director at U.S. PIRG, “So let’s be very clear that the real purpose of the RAA is to put a full stop to agency efforts to protect consumers, workers and the environment from health, safety and financial threats.”

The RAA hurts efforts to establish safeguards by:

1.          Requiring federal agencies to adopt new undefined and impossible to meet standards to draft “the most cost-effective” rule for corporations. It will be litigated for years.

2.          Contains a meaningless “savings clause” that allows its proponents to claim the bill doesn’t do what it actually does, which is to stop health, safety and financial protections.

3.          Replaces an already industry-friendly rulemaking process, burdened by redundant cost-benefit analysis and other procedures that mean rules take up to 4 years to pass and replaces it with an “adversarial” rulemaking process worse than one that currently only applies to the Federal Trade Commission; that agency has not attempted to enact a major rule in decades.

“The CFPB is working to protect our wallets while the EPA protects us from pollution,” said Mike Litt, U.S. PIRG’s Consumer Advocate. “If the RAA becomes law, those agencies and others will be allocating all their resources to complying with an endless muddle of U.S. Chamber of Commerce-approved studies and hearings.”

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U.S. PIRG, the federation of state Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs), stands up to powerful special interests on behalf of the American public, working to win concrete results for our health and our well-being. With a strong network of researchers, advocates, organizers and students in state capitols across the country, we take on the special interests on issues, such as product safety,political corruption, prescription drugs and voting rights,where these interests stand in the way of reform and progress.

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