Dear Jeb: Crippling Federal Agencies Will Not Keep America Safe!

by Robert Verchick

September 22, 2015

Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush released a plan meant to make it harder for federal agencies to make rules that protect public health and the environment. That might help some big corporations. But it makes everyday Americans much less safe.

The idea is to jam up the federal rule making process with so many requirements that hardly anything important would get done. Safeguards that keep the air clear, the water clean, and the workplace safe would be put on the back burner. Bush’s plan would empower congressional members who do not believe in climate change to stall rules crafted by scientific experts in response to statutes that Congress has already passed, like the Clean Water and Air Acts. New rules meant to prevent another Wall Street meltdown would also be at risk. 

On top of that Bush would provide the White House (through OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA)) with even more ways to delay common sense rules that keep Americans safe and make our economy more productive—rules that reduce asthma attacks in children and keep rocket fuel out of your drinking water. When it comes to keeping Americans safe, Bush calls not for swift action, but for more red tape.

He says his plan would free the regulatory process from the influence of “special interest[s],” but what it would really do is free special interests from the sensible safeguards that Americans expect and depend on.

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Robert R.M. Verchick holds the Gauthier ~ St. Martin Eminent Scholar Chair in Environmental Law at Loyola University, New Orleans, is the Faculty Director of the Center for Environmental Law at Loyola, and is a Senior Fellow in Disaster Resilience Leadership, Tulane University. He is the President of the Center for Progressive Reform.

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