Advisory committees Federal agencies Regulation Silica

Senate subcommittee explores impact of regulatory delays

Peg Seminario testifies

Washington – Workers are dying as a result of the delays in the rulemaking process, witnesses told a Senate subcommittee on Aug. 1.

A hearing convened by the newly created Oversight, Federal Rights and Agency Action Subcommittee examined the costs and burdens created by federal regulations, as well as the process proposed rules undergo.

During the hearing, some stakeholders suggested the rulemaking process, which involves a 90-day review by the White House’s Office of Management and Budget, is inefficient and impedes the issuance of helpful and lifesaving rules.

“The delays that we see in the regulatory process and the failure to issue needed rules are costing workers their lives,” said Peg Seminario, safety and health director of the AFL-CIO. She noted that workers died during the eight-year process to update OSHA’s Cranes and Derricks in Construction Standard and the ongoing 16-plus years spent updating the Silica Standard. Analyses and rulemaking requirements have increased throughout the years as a result of regulatory opposition, Seminario added.

However, statutory deadlines and shorter review times have negatively affected regulatory analyses, warned Patrick McLaughlin, a senior research fellow at Mercatus Center, an Arlington, VA-based research organization at George Mason University. “If time can improve regulations, then time should be taken,” he said.