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Last year, in the 175 days that the U.S. House of Representatives was in session, it passed more than 190 anti-regulatory bills. Putting profits over public safety and they are still at it. Next up is H.R. 4078, the “Regulatory Freeze for Jobs Act of 2012,” a bill that wrongly calls for a halt on all public health and consumer safety protections until the unemployment rate reaches six percent. The House Judiciary Committee is expected to mark up the bill today, Tuesday, March 20.

In reality, public health and consumer safety protections strengthen the economy and make our country  safer and more secure. Our nation has made advancements beyond the wildest dreams of our Founders, due largely to the public health and consumer safety standards that:

  • Make  our food safer;
  • Save tens of thousands of lives by making our cars safer;
  • Make it safer to breathe, saving hundreds of thousands of lives annually;
  • Protect children’s brain development by keeping leaded gasoline and lead-based paint out of the environment;

The Regulatory Freeze for Jobs Act of 2012, will threaten all these protections that we as Americans take for granted and under this bizarre legislative rubric, many regulatory actions that do not fit the popular conception of public health and consumer safety standards would be halted. A great example of this is the Pharmaceutical approval standards. Every five years, Congress reauthorizes the Prescription Drug and User Fee Act (PDUFA), which establishes the framework for Food and Drug Administration approval of new medicines as well as the Medical Device User Fee Act, which functions similarly for medical devices. Both acts are set to be reauthorized this year.

But the absurdity of H.R. 4078 is reaching stratospheric heights, because what Congress is telling agencies is, “don’t enforce the laws that we pass.” Simply put, if the House passes this bill, it would essentially be sabotaging its own legislation.  The folks who drafted this bill obviously did not think it through and we will see unsafe drugs and medical devices on the market.

Clearly this bill is a danger to our public health and consumer safety protections and should not be passed.

 

Co-authored with Nassima Hossain

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