Regulation Leadership

Sen. Elizabeth Warren praises power of regulation during symposium speech

Photo: Coalition for Sensible Safeguards

Washington — Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) lauded government regulation as a vital societal institution during a June 5 speech, saying “good rules empower people to live, work and do business freely and safely.”

Delivered before a symposium hosted by the Coalition for Sensible Safeguards, a group of more than 160 unions and nonprofit organizations, Warren’s remarks came in stark contrast to the Trump administration’s focus on deregulation.

“Let me say this outright,” Warren said. “Well-designed regulations allow for more freedom and more safety for each of us personally, more freedom and more opportunity for small businesses and startups, and more freedom and more security for workers who are building a future for their families, and more freedom for every business that is willing to compete straight up on the quality of its goods and services.”

Warren challenged President Donald Trump and various members of his cabinet while asserting that the push for deregulation boosts corporate interests and shows little concern for public safety.

In her 30-minute address, Warren included a favorable historical narrative of regulations spanning from the Industrial Revolution, saying that protections such as workplace safety, child labor laws and the right to unionize “set up guardrails so that giant corporations could no longer exploit workers just to boost their own profits.”

However, Warren said, “those rules came under attack” during the Reagan administration, and have been threatened since.

At the end of her speech, Warren pledged to introduce anticorruption legislation intended to “padlock the revolving door between government and industry” and “empower federal agencies to pass strong regulations that benefit the public by ending corporate capture of the regulatory process.”

The symposium also included separate panel discussions exploring the current deregulatory climate and its effect on the public.

During one panel discussion, Heidi Shierholz, director of policy at the Economic Policy Institute and former chief economist at the Department of Labor, called the Trump administration’s deregulation narrative “so at odds with the evidence.” Shierholz noted that the White House Office of Management and Budget recently issued a report stating that the benefits of federal regulations promulgated from Oct. 1, 2006, to Sept. 30, 2016, far outweighed the costs.

Nearly two weeks after his inauguration, Trump signed an Executive Order requiring federal agencies to cut two regulations for every new one proposed. Three days later, the White House published a guidance memo clarifying that the Executive Order would apply only to regulations with a proposed cost of at least $100 million.

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