Defeating Regulations by Stealth

Article excerpt

Some things that are within the rules nonetheless shouldn't be done because they violate the spirit of the democratic process. The House Republicans' latest method of killing what they consider burdensome government regulations falls squarely into that category.

Frustrated that a moratorium on new regulations was defeated in the Senate and that a bill mandating cost-benefit analyses of all new regulations appears to be stalled, the House leadership has chosen a new method, inserted into a 1996 budget resolution. The plan is to instruct appropriation subcommittees to restrict spending money to enforce those regulations that Republicans appear to lack the political power to repeal.

Hence, the Environmental Protection Agency would be barred from using any of its budget to list new endangered species. Permission would be denied to spend money enforcing the corporate average fuel efficiency standards, indoor air quality regulations or laws prohibiting cigarette sales to minors. Proposed rules to stiffen government inspection of meat and poultry plants would be denied money, and no funds would be allowed to be spent on administering the Motor Voter Act or enforcing motorcycle-helmet requirements. …

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