Statement of CSPI Nutrition Policy Director Margo G. Wootan
The so-called Regulatory Accountability Act, introduced today by Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), is not regulatory reform—it is grotesque regulatory deform.
The RAA would fundamentally change how federal agencies adopt health and safety protections, making it nearly impossible to improve them going forward, and prioritizing corporate profits over benefits for everyday Americans.
The bill wouldn’t streamline bureaucratic procedures, as proponents claim; it would add endless red tape. These burdensome and costly procedural and legal steps would block the path of rules designed to safeguard Americans, including food safety rules that have saved thousands of lives and prevented millions of cases of foodborne illness.
The RAA would put business interests before public interest; making it easier to halt public safeguards through the courts. While industry could ask for hearings at which their lawyers could cross-examine government employees, the burden of proof to address industry arguments would fall to the agency. And it elevates politics over science by encouraging White House meddling in agency affairs—an especially alarming prospect given the building’s current occupants.
Congress should be fighting this tooth and nail—and not be complicit in regulatory deform.