Oppose the Regulatory Freeze Act—NOW!

Tomorrow the U.S. House is scheduled to vote on H.R. 4078, the Regulatory Freeze Act. 

The legislation would stop the federal government from promulgating any new regulations until the unemployment rate is 6% or below.  If this bill should ever become law, which it won’t, the coal and oil companies, health insurance companies, big pharma, multinational corporations, and the “too big to fail” banks will have all won.  There will be no regulations to implement recent laws aimed at protecting consumers and leveling the playing field for small businesses.  And there would be no need to pass any new laws to do likewise because it is the regulations that are needed to carry out the intent of Congressional laws. 

Below is a letter from the American Sustainable Business Council laying out the small business argument for not passing the Regulatory Freeze Act.

If you like your government to actually work to protect your health and safety and also protect small businesses from unfair competition from corporate giants, call your House member today.  The House switchboard is (202) 224-3121.  Call and just ask to be connected to your House member.  The message is easy:  Vote NO on H.R. 4078.

American Sustainable Business Council

July 23, 2012

Re:  H.R. 4078, Regulatory Freeze Act

Dear Representative:
I write you today to urge you to oppose the “Regulatory Freeze for Jobs Act of 2012″ (H.R. 4078), the “Midnight Rule Relief Act of 2012,” (H.R. 4607), and the “Sunshine for Regulatory Decrees and Settlements Act of 2012” (H.R. 3862). Votes on these bills are expected this week. These bills hurt small and medium sized businesses by halting the regulatory process that levels the playing ground for these businesses to compete, creates incentives for innovation and protects our customers and employees.

These three bills constitute a shift away from forty years of regulatory precedent that protects the public against a range of market imperfections. The bills will also lead to a more chaotic and less competitive market. And finally, the bills will also have the unintended consequence of shifting the burden of proof for environmental, health and safety issues back to taxpayers and away from powerful corporate interests. Eroding the operational capacity of regulatory agencies to do their job, as these bills appear designed to do, will not foster productive growth among small and mid-sized firms. Instead these actions will allow the largest firms to further dominate the marketplace.

The American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC) is a growing national coalition of businesses and business organizations committed to advancing policies that support a vibrant and sustainable economy. ASBC, through its partner organizations, represents over 150,000 businesses and more than 300,000 business professionals, including industry associations, local and state chambers of commerce, microenterprise, social enterprise, green and sustainable business, local living economy groups, women and minority business leaders, and investor networks.

While some inside the Beltway claim that regulations are holding back our economic recovery, ASBC has a different view. ASBC, along with other small business organizations, released back in February a poll of small business owners which found that small businesses don’t see regulations as a major concern. Instead, the vast majority of small business owners believe weak demand is the primary challenge for their business right now.

Our polling confirmed that small business owners value regulations if they are well-constructed and fairly enforced:

 Small business owners believe certain government regulations play an important role: 86% believe some regulation is necessary for a modern economy and 93% of respondents believe their business can live with some regulation if it is fair and manageable.
 78% of small employers agree regulations are important in protecting small businesses from unfair competition and to level the playing field with big business.
 79% of small business owners support having clean air and water in their community in order to keep their family, employees and customers healthy.
 61% support standards that move the country towards energy efficiency and clean energy.
If enacted, the bills we oppose would open the door for more problems like the financial and mortgage crisis of 2008. The bills, in our view would further damage our economy, stifle consumer demand and put small companies out of business.

We believe an approach to make the regulatory process help businesses be more successful is to increase the capacity at the regulatory agencies. This would enable the agency ombudsmen to be more responsive and effectively address small businesses’ questions when they arise. Our experience has been that the ombudsmen process works well.

Blocking, weakening or delaying critical standards and safeguards will worsen the uneven economic playing field that leaves many small and medium sized businesses at a competitive disadvantage. It also inhibits innovation in new technologies that can create good, sustainable jobs and create safer products, workplaces and communities.

We call on the House of Representatives to reject these three bills.


David Levine
CEO & Co-Founder
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