[eDebate] more public dabait protections: the sunset commissions
Sun Jun 25 16:23:56 CDT 2006
rest on your laurels and do nothing b/c your dabait community is safe in the
hands of the neocons. we got some damn good inherency ev here for future
une 23, 2006 | Back Issues
White House, GOP Leaders Plan All-Out Assault on Federal Protections
Apparently rushing to lock in a long-sought goal before the fall elections,
GOP congressional leaders may bring to a vote within weeks a proposal that
could literally wipe out any federal program that protects public health or
the environment--or for that matter civil rights, poverty programs, auto
safety, education, affordable housing, Head Start, workplace safety or any
other activity targeted by anti-regulatory forces.
With strong support from the Bush White House and the Republican Study
Committee, the proposal would create a "sunset commission"--an unelected
body with the power to recommend whether a program lives or dies, and then
move its recommendations through Congress on a fast-track basis with limited
debate and no amendments.
Three leading proposals have been introduced and are being winnowed into a
final version. They would give the White House some--or total--authority to
nominate members to the commission. House Majority Leader John Boehner
(R-OH) has confirmed that his office is coordinating development of a final
version for prompt floor action.
Sunset commissions have been proposed, and defeated, before. But public
interest veterans say the current situation is unlike any in the past,
because the House Republican Study Committee, which includes some of the
most anti-regulatory members of Congress, has secured guaranteed floor
consideration of a sunset bill.
If such a bill should become law, the sunset commission could be packed with
industry lobbyists and representatives from industry-funded think tanks, and
could conduct its business in secrecy. Two of the sunset proposals under
consideration would mandate that programs die after they are reviewed,
unless Congress takes action to save them.
Several environmental programs have been targeted during past sunset
attempts. Experts predict those would be among the first a sunset commission
would review. Among them: the Energy Star Program; federal support for mass
transit; the State Energy Program, which supports numerous state and local
energy renewable efficiency programs; the Clean School Bus Program; the Land
and Water Conservation Fund; federal grants for Wastewater infrastructure; a
national children's health study that examines factors leading to such
problems as premature birth, autism, obesity, asthma, and exposures to
pesticides, mercury and other toxic chemicals.
A coalition of public interest groups is fighting to block enactment of a
sunset commission. Information is available through the Sunset Commission
Action Center at OMB Watch.
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