OMB Watch Criticizes U.S. Chamber of Commerce over Irresponsible Attack on Public Protections

-For Immediate Release-
November 17, 2010

Contact: Brian Gumm, (202) 683-4812,

OMB Watch Criticizes U.S. Chamber of Commerce
over Irresponsible Attack on Public Protections

WASHINGTON, Nov. 17, 2010—OMB Watch today criticized the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for an irresponsible attack on government regulation, a key mechanism for providing public safeguards. The rebuke was in response to news that the Chamber will target environmental and worker protections and health care and financial reform regulations in the coming months.

"The Chamber is once again putting special interests ahead of the public interest," said OMB Watch Executive Director Gary D. Bass. Bass continued, "Attacking regulation won’t help the ailing economy, and it isn’t what Americans want."

Recent polling data indicates that most Americans support more, not less, regulation in areas like energy and food safety. For example, a National Journal poll conducted this summer found that 78 percent of Americans favor requiring utilities to produce more energy from renewable sources. A separate Consumers Union poll found that 80 percent of Americans support pending legislation that would increase the Food and Drug Administration’s powers to oversee the food supply.

More importantly, public protections – especially environmental, consumer, worker health and safety, and civil rights protections – are the backbone of a safe, healthy, and fair society. "Regulation prevents employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of race or gender; regulation keeps lead out of gasoline, ensuring a bright future for new generations; and regulation requires airbags in vehicles, saving thousands of lives every year," Bass noted.

The Chamber’s plan – in which it intends to pressure both Congress and the Obama administration to loosen existing standards and back away from rules implementing landmark health care and financial regulatory reform laws – is the latest in a long line of hyperbolic attacks on public protections. The business group has historically railed against popular policies like the Clean Air Act and occupational safety and health protections, warning of dire economic consequences or job losses that never came to pass.

"Most businesses operate responsibly, but we can’t afford to live in a country where the unscrupulous ones are allowed to put the rest of us at risk," Bass said, pointing to the Upper Big Branch mine explosion that killed 29 miners in April, the salmonella-contaminated eggs that sickened more than 1,600 earlier this year, and the BP-Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster that has fouled the Gulf Coast.

"The Obama administration and Congress must not allow the Chamber and its allies to undermine their responsibility to the American people," Bass concluded.

# # #

OMB Watch is a nonprofit research and advocacy organization dedicated to promoting government accountability, citizen participation in public policy decisions, and the use of fiscal and regulatory policy to serve the public interest. Find OMB Watch on Facebook and Twitter.

back to Blog