Statement of CSPI Chief Regulatory Affairs Counsel Sarah Sorscher

The so-called Regulatory Accountability Act, sponsored by Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), would make it nearly impossible for federal agencies to protect our health and safety moving forward.

This bill to destroy future food, health, and environmental safeguards passed out of committee today and is heading for the Senate floor.

The bill would affect every aspect of America’s food supply, undermining federal work to prevent bioterrorist attacks on our food sources, inspect meat and eggs for Salmonella, reduce antibiotic-resistant bacteria in meat and poultry, and inform consumers about the content of the foods we eat.

That is why the bill has been dubbed the Filthy Food Act. But it would also have a much broader devastating effect on American life by undermining the important work of all federal agencies, whether on health, safety, transparency, privacy, financial matters, or the environment.

The bill would force government agencies to apply a cold financial calculus to every important decision, emphasizing costs to business over benefits to people.

The bill also would effectively paralyze federal agencies by mandating burdensome trial-type hearings, allowing judges to decide the science rather than scientists, and by increasing political meddling by the White House in decisions.  While rules now take years to develop, this bill would virtually stop agencies from acting at all.

It is horrifying that this destructive bill is so close to becoming law even though consumers, workers, and families oppose it. It would grotesquely deform the implementation of our laws, ensure that agencies could not act to protect the public or address social needs, and undermine the basic functioning of the federal government.  It must be stopped.