Republican’s “Regulatory Freeze Act” would undo countless national safeguards that protect the health and safety of all Americans
Click HERE to watch Rep. Markey make remarks on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives in opposition to "The Regulatory Freeze Act".
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), top Democrat on the Natural Resources Committee and senior member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, released a new report today detailing some of the devastating impacts of the Republican effort that blocks significant new federal protections and safeguards until the national unemployment rate drops to six percent. The so-called “Regulatory Freeze Act” is scheduled for a vote on the House floor tomorrow. Rep. Markey’s report, “Protection Rejection: G.O.P. Abandons Consumer, Health, Safety Measures”, compiles and details the major federal regulations that the misguided Republican legislation would delay indefinitely, putting the health and well-being of all Americans at risk.
“With this misguided legislation, G.O.P. now stands for Gut Our Protections,” said Congressman Markey. “This bill is the pluperfect form of the G.O.P.’s political paradox: Republicans hate government, but they have to run for office to make sure it doesn’t work. This protections rejection bill would stop the creation of any new rules or protections that keep Americans safe and healthy. Republicans say this bill is about red tape, but really it’s nothing more than a red herring – an attempt to distract from the GOP’s abject failure to spur job creation in this country.”
A copy of “Protection Rejection: G.O.P. Abandons Consumer, Health, Safety Measures” can be found HERE.
Rep. Markey’s report highlights several of the harmful impacts the G.O.P. legislation would have, including:
- Increase gas prices. The Wall Street Transparency and Accountability Act, passed into law in 2010, took steps to shield American consumers from wild price swings at the gas pump by preventing excessive speculation on oil prices. While prices used to be dictated by supply and demand, they are now driven up by speculators placing self-fulfilling bets that oil prices will increase.
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is in the process of issuing several regulations that would prevent the excessive speculation in commodity markets that needlessly drives up prices at the pump. However, these protections cannot take effect until certain the agency finalizes the federal regulations that implement the law. The Republican bill could result in higher gas prices for American consumers by preventing the CFTC from implementing changes to limit excessive oil speculation.
- Prevent wounded veterans from receiving home care. In 2010, Congress passed a defense bill that allowed workers to take up to 26 weeks off to care for a veteran who suffered a serious injury as a result of their military service, including for conditions that do not arise until after the veteran has left the military. This is a vital benefit for military families, but the Republican bill could prevent this new veteran legislation from taking effect.
- Prevent new tailpipe emission standards that reduce gas consumption. As part of a historic agreement with automakers, unions, and environmental organizations, the Obama administration recently proposed regulations to further accelerate the implementation of the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act and increase fuel economy standards to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. These 2017-25 standards would remove the need for 1.5 million barrels of oil per day by 2030 and 2.4 million barrels of oil per day by 2040. The Republican legislation would increase our dangerous dependence on foreign oil and cause consumers to have to pay more to fill up their cars by preventing these regulations from being finalized.
- Delay crucial updates to decades-old worker safety standards. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is in the process of revising the workplace safety standards for power line workers, which is currently more than 35 years old. The revised standards will protect workers from electrocution during maintenance of power line facilities and will reduce the number of power line workers that are killed each year due to electrical hazards they face on the job. Currently, there are about 50 deaths per 100,000 power line workers each year.
- Leave our oceans vulnerable to another massive oil spill. The Republican bill would block the new rules to increase the reliability of blow-out preventers and ensure that another Deepwater Horizon incident could be prevented. This bill would prevent the safety reforms the have been put in place administratively. Just as they have blocked legislation to protect offshore workers and reduce the risk of oil disasters off our coasts, Republicans would now prevent the few reforms the Obama administration has been able to take on its own.
- Jeopardize patient privacy. In 2009, Congress enacted new laws to protect the privacy of individual’s personal health data. Under the new law, patients could request information about who accessed their electronic health records and why. In addition, more companies would be held directly responsible for failing to protect the privacy of health data.
Additional safeguards that would be delayed indefinitely by this legislation, include: new laws preventing insurance companies from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions or genetic history; new food safety standards to prevent deadly outbreaks of listeria and other diseases; and expanded protections for children’s online privacy.