NAM To House Subcommittee: Regulatory Reform Is Key

NAM applauds EPA for effort, but was disappointed by lack of response from other agencies.

Lawrence Fineran, Vice President for Legal and Regulatory Reform Policy of the National Association of Manufacturers, told government officials Thursday that “the special attention was warranted” in regards to regulatory review being a key element of the Bush Administration’s Manufacturing Initiative.

“A number of our member companies were skeptical of this exercise because they - and the NAM - participated in a similar exercise in 2002 and the results were disappointing,” Fineran told the House Small Business Committee’s Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform and Oversight. “None of the regulations that the NAM nominated for improvement in 2002 had been changed by 2004.”

According to Fineran, regulatory reform is an important part of President Bush's agenda to help the manufacturing industry become more competitive, and while the Environmental Protection Agency has been responsive to the need to improve regulations, other agencies have not.

Fineran praised the EPA, which “has contacted us about a number of regulations that we submitted and has made some improvements as a result.”  But “the Department of Labor is a different story,” he said, citing delays in addressing problems with rules under the Family and Medical Leave Act, and the Occupational Safety and Helath Administration’s (OSHA) continuing refusal to update its archaic 1969 fire safety standards. 

“We look forward, however, to working with the incoming administrators of OIRA and OSHA to improve regulations and assure this project is completed.”

The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), meanwhile, has developed a “List of 76” regulations.

“We were very pleased that five of our seven highlighted regulations were on that list.  We were also pleased that a number of our more specific suggestions were on the list, and that most had timetables for action.” Fineran said.

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