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New report highlights governmental delays in issuing critical public protections

The Coalition for Sensible Safeguards today released a new report, “Down the Regulatory Rabbit Hole: How Corporate Influence, Judicial Review and a Lack of Transparency Delay Crucial Rules and Harm the Public,” which details how the failure to finalize rules harms the American people by compromising the safety of food, automobiles, workplaces and protections for investors.

The report comes a day in advance of Prof. Howard Shelanski’s confirmation hearing before the U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee. Shelanski has been nominated to head the White House’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA). If confirmed, Shelanski would serve as Obama’s “regulatory czar,” who is tasked with reviewing all sorts of rules pending at the agency.

The CSS report examines eight specific protections that have been under development for years but have not been finalized and implemented. Five of the protections are stalled in review at OIRA. In many cases, the specific legal deadlines set by the U.S. Congress have come and gone without movement from OIRA.

You have likely heard about me talk about (read: bemoan) this agency before. The proposed silica rule, which would protect workers from exposure to dangerous levels of silica dust on the job, has remained mired at the agency for more than two years. OIRA was supposed to review the rule within 90 days. In the time since the proposal landed at OIRA, more than 100 workers have died and thousands have been sickened by preventable exposure to silica dust.

Another rule stalled at OIRA would extend minimum wage and overtime rules to cover home care workers. This rule has also been stuck in the bureaucratic process for more than two years. In the meantime, one-fifth of American home care workers live below the poverty line.

Click here to read about more rules stuck at the agency.

The new regulatory czar – Shelanski or anyone else the Senate confirms for the job – must reverse the agency’s M.O. and ensure that critical public protections no longer sit in a bureaucratic logjam. Only this will prevent Americans being needlessly put in harm’s way. 

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