Monday, July 11, 2011

Now it’s crystal clear – independent agencies must be responsive to the President’s call to roll back burdensome regulations

Today, President Obama issued a new Executive Order, requesting that the CPSC and other independent agencies comply with the President’s earlier Executive Order 13563, calling for the reevaluation and potential repeal of overly burdensome regulations and the promulgation of new regulations “only after consideration of their costs and benefits (both quantitative and qualitative).”

No longer can the statement, “this Order doesn’t apply to us,” hold true for Commissioners at the CPSC.

Last week, I had the opportunity to testify before the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations concerning President Obama’s earlier Executive Order (E.O.) 13563 and the lack of responsiveness to the E.O. of agencies such as ours. While this original Executive Order did not apply to independent agencies, Administrator Cass Sunstein had urged that they voluntarily comply.

In my testimony, I continued to argue for ways in which the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act’s regulations can be implemented with less burdensome regulations. I also suggested specific reforms to the law that would ensure that the CPSIA and its regulations would not hurt our ability to create jobs in this economy.

Following the hearing, my former colleague, Representative Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) guest blogged on the Heritage Foundation’s The Foundry website with her reactions to the hearing. I concur with Rep. Blackburn’s statement: “It’s important to understand the reason why regulators are resisting voluntary compliance with Obama’s order: they can’t justify their costly rules and mandates.” The reality is…we need action. We need to better quantify the costs that our regulations are having on businesses throughout the country. We need to engage those most affected by our regulations and we need to provide them with the opportunity to comment on those issues. Further, we need to admit our mistakes, learn from them, and look back at ways we can lessen the unnecessary burden of CPSIA-mandated regulations when there is no known risk.

Several months ago, I applauded the President for his Executive Order and urged my colleagues at the CPSC to help to shred the excess in terms of how we regulate. I have testified before Congress several times requesting more flexibility in the statute and urged my fellow Commissioners to do the same. Last week’s hearing and the latest, dire unemployment statistics have created a new awareness of the issues regulated by independent agencies. I remain strong in my belief that the White House, Congress and the public can play an important role in shaping the CPSC’s decisions.

I once again urge my colleagues to follow the new Executive Order and to stop any further regulations without a plan in place that addresses the concerns of the President, mainly that we “produce a regulatory system that protects public health, welfare, safety, and our environment while promoting economic growth, innovation, competitiveness, and job creation."

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