Thursday, March 1, 2007

Bush Power Grab-Let them Eat Spinach?

Now that global warming is confirmed by a broad scientific consensus that is almost unanimous, and food safety and exposure of imports to terrorism is widely acknowledged, George Bush found a revised secret route to undermine public safety legislation. Congress needs to step up and reassert its authority.

A new Executive Order would strip regulatory agencies of authority to regulate dangerous products unless it can establish "market failure."

The Bush administration ordered agencies to get White House approval before issuing "guidance" on regulatory matters, possibly subjecting such pronouncements to the same comment period and cost-benefit analyses as full-blown regulations. The executive order also requires agencies to document a "market failure" to justify any new regulation and puts a political appointee in each agency to oversee regulatory policies.
Thousands of Americans have died in Iraq - and more allies and civilians and contractors - and the Administration refuses to call it a failure. How many consumers have to die before it will declare a "market failure"?

The compelling testimony of Georgetown Law professor and Director of the Institute For Public Representation, David Vladeck, is here. He points out it applies to drafts, guidelines and policies as well as rules, and to agencies implementing laws passed by Congress that require hazard analysis, not market failure.

More from WaPo:

"There is no question who this panders to," said Rena Steinzor, a University of Maryland law professor who is critical of administration regulatory policy.

"It's maybe not surprising that having lost control of the Congress, the president is doing what he can to increase control of the executive branch," [said Peter Strauss, a professor at Columbia University law school].

There is no question of the resounding effect this will have on safety regulation as recognized by papers that cover Federal regulation. In Biotech-rich Thousand Oaks, CA, the paper said the "Power Grab [is] likely to change the country." TomPaine calls it a "chokehold. The Washington Times says the Order will establish Bush's legacy, which according to the Moonies is currently tainted because the Clinton regulations first blocked by Bush as anti-business did eventually go through relatively intact. The Times especially complains about Clinton's environmental protections, designed to prevent increased rates of global warming, and the Times denies the vast weight of climate change evidence.

The changes would be secret, too

In a February 13 hearing before a House Science and Technology subcommittee on oversight, chairman Brad Miller of North Carolina commented that new regulations could "be smothered in the crib by the RPO" without even the possibility of public scrutiny. ... Vladeck told the committee that the new executive order "goes back to the days when OIRA was allowed to conduct a big part of its business in secret."

C'mon, Congress. Eat your Spinach.

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