Democratic Commissioners Marching to a Different Drummer; Consumer Product Safety Commission Ignores White House

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), August 21, 2012 | Go to article overview

Democratic Commissioners Marching to a Different Drummer; Consumer Product Safety Commission Ignores White House


Byline: Nancy Nord, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES

The president gave agencies three important tasks in two executive orders last year: Develop a plan to review and fix regulations, use cost-benefit analysis in writing new ones, and figure out how to reduce their paperwork burden. The point of these tasks is to ensure that agencies pursue their missions while creating an environment where the economy and jobs can grow and thrive. My agency's failure to do any of these tasks jeopardizes that goal. Let's look at each task.

Task 1: Fix regulations. In Executive Order 13579, the president asked agencies to develop plans to eliminate or improve regulations that are not justified. As Cass Sunstein, the president's director of information and regulatory policy, described it, agencies are supposed to produce plans to reassess and to streamline their existing regulations, and to disclose those plans for public scrutiny so that the agencies have smart, cost-effective regulations, designed to promote economic growth and job creation.

How has the commission responded? Tepidly, at best. Granted, this past spring we started developing a policy to direct how we review, revise or revoke out-of-date rules. But this month, on a 2-2 vote, we failed to adopt any policy. I joined my colleague Anne Northup in arguing for a rule-review plan that would have focused on fixing our most burdensome rules. My other colleagues voted for a plan that allows focusing on small rules such as eliminating superfluous regulations on toy cap guns or restating our animal testing policy. These things may be appropriate as regulatory housekeeping, but let's not pretend that doing them will create any jobs, ease any burdens on the marketplace or increase safety.

Task 2: Employ cost-benefit analysis. The president tasked us with using cost-benefit analysis as a tool to assure that the benefits of new rules outweigh their costs. This is a continuation of past administrations' policies, and it ensures that agencies create rules that impose the lowest burden on the consumers and the economy.

The reaction of the commission? A Democratic majority specifically declined to perform this rational and sensible analysis for rules recently adopted that are laden with regulatory requirements. …

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Democratic Commissioners Marching to a Different Drummer; Consumer Product Safety Commission Ignores White House
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