House Passes Regulatory Accountability Act in Attempt to Make It More Difficult to Protect the Public

-For Immediate Release-
December 2, 2011

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

House Passes Regulatory Accountability Act in Attempt to Make It More Difficult to Protect the Public

WASHINGTON, Dec. 2, 2011—Today, the House passed the so-called Regulatory Accountability Act (RAA), which was sponsored by Reps. Lamar Smith (R-TX) and Collin Peterson (D-MN). The bill, if passed by the Senate and signed by President Obama, would make it far more difficult to protect the public from environmental, health, safety, and economic hazards.

"Today, the House voted to bulldoze a half century of rulemaking procedures with the deliberately mislabeled Regulatory Accountability Act," said Katherine McFate, president of OMB Watch.

The RAA would mandate new, duplicative agency reviews; overturn established administrative law practices; give corporate interests countless new ways to influence, slow, or simply stop the rulemaking process; and allow judges to substitute their own judgments for those of scientific experts and agency staff.

"The RAA would unleash a wrecking crew of lawyers and lobbyists on the rulemaking process. The interests of large corporations are already given far too much weight in setting industry standards and safeguards; the drastic changes embedded in this law would ensure deep-pocketed business interests override the concerns of small businesses and protections for ordinary people," said McFate. "This is not the kind of reform the American people want."

McFate continued, "Research shows that a majority of voters – from across the political spectrum – want better enforcement of existing health, safety, environmental, and financial safeguards. When voters say they want more accountability, they mean they want their government to be accountable to them, not to special interests. The RAA would give corporate interests more control over agency actions and kneecap the agencies' ability to protect the public."

The RAA now moves to the Senate, where it is sponsored by Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Mark Pryor (D-AR). More information on the bill is available at and

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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.

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