United Farm Workers

 

Three pending bills could destroy our public protections

We have to act NOW. There are three bills that have passed the house and are now in the senate that can literally destroy decades of progress for our environment, food supply and so much more.

The Regulatory Accountability Act (RAA) could cripple the process for issuing and enforcing rules to ensure we have clean air and water, safe food and consumer products, fair wages and safe workplaces and many other key protections. It already takes many years for a new public protection to navigate the regulatory process. Now this bill would add more than 80 burdensome and time-consuming hurdles to that process — paralyzing agencies that already are struggling to operate under tight budgets. Just as scary, the RAA establishes a default requirement that agencies adopt rules that are the least costly to industry - irrespective of the public benefits. This act would override the Clean Air Act, the Mine Safety and Health Act, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act and dozens of other laws that make protecting the public and workers the highest priority.

Then there is the Midnight Rules Relief Act which would expand a rarely used law called the Congressional Review Act that allows a new Congress to strike down regulatory protections established in the last six months under the previous president. Instead of erasing these protections one at a time, as a current law requires, Midnight Rules would let Congress to wipe out dozens – perhaps even hundreds – of regulatory protections at a time. The Trump Administration has already used the Congressional Review Act more than any administration in history. Can you imagine if they could have free rein to delete hundreds of protections at once?!

Finally, the REINS Act would require big-ticket public protections — those that provide the most health, safety, environmental and economic benefits — to be approved by both chambers of Congress before taking effect. This is nothing more than a back-door way to gut enforcement of existing legislation and future safeguards that threaten big-money interests. It would allow Congress to block vital public protections simply by doing nothing.

All three of the bills that would wipe out public protections would leave tens of millions of Americans vulnerable to workplace and environmental disasters and more. All three bills have already passed in the House of Representatives. But we can still stop them in the Senate.

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