Regulatory Action Center Review – February 22, 2019

Welcome to FreedomWorks Foundation’s fourth regulatory review of 2019! Our Regulatory Action Center proudly updates you with our favorite tidbits from the swamp. We want to smash barriers between bureaucracy and the American people by delivering regulatory news straight to FreedomWorks activists. Check back in two weeks for the next edition.

1) Video of the Week: In this video, Patrick McLaughlin of the Mercatus Center visualizes and explains the massive growth of government regulation since the 1950s. Hint: It is staggering.

2) Trump Plan a Big Step Forward in Lowering Drug Costs: “Current drug pricing structure is stuck in an escalating spiral of higher list prices (the sticker price of a drug) and decreasing transparency. The central dynamic fueling this vicious cycle is obvious: In this system, PBMs, whose job it is to negotiate drug discounts on behalf of payers such as insurers and large employers, benefit from higher list prices on drugs. This is precisely the opposite dynamic you would want if your goal is to lower prices.”

3) FDA Tightens Regulations of Over-the-Counter Sunscreen Products: “The health regulator said the proposed rule has been issued to establish conditions under which some sunscreen drug products can be sold without FDA-approved marketing applications. The agency proposed that of the 16 currently used ingredients, only two — zinc oxide and titanium dioxide — are considered safe and effective based on available data.”

4) The Flawed EPA Program That Needs to be Cut from the Federal Budget: “Far from being the ‘gold standard’ for risk assessment, EPA’s IRIS has a long history of flawed risk assessments based on faulty research that have led the agency to release counterproductive regulations. These flawed regulations, based on IRIS assessments, have a profoundly negative impact on consumers and products Americans rely on in their daily lives. Concerns about IRIS’s work and methods have been raised by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), EPA’s Office of the Inspector General, Congress, and the National Academies of Sciences.”

5) You Can’t Build That – The Regulatory Reality of the Green New Deal: “I’ve been a regulatory benefit-cost analyst for 40 years, and now I’m reconsidering retirement. There is simply too much money to be made by rentseekers like me conducting, revising, and criticizing the millions of Environmental Assessments and thousands of Environmental Impact Statements that will be required before these projects will be “shovel ready.” In the past I have declined to do NEPA reviews because the whole enterprise is egregiously unproductive and wasteful. But that won’t be true when NEPA is applied to Green New Deal projects. Indeed, NEPA could be all that saves us from their catastrophic environmental damage. But if Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, Sen. Markey, and their 77 (and counting) fellow travelers insist on it, I will do my duty to save the environment — and make NEPA great again.”

6) T-Mobile Updates Website to Hype Sprint Merger and Rural Broadband: “New T-Mobile site offers customers — especially rural ones — a number of reasons to back the merger, notably including the promise of new jobs. According to the most recent numbers, the company says it will create 3,625 new full-time jobs in 2019 if the merger goes through this year, with ‘more U.S. employees on payroll from Day One than the prior standalone companies do now.’ T-Mobile specifically promises 12,000 jobs across ‘up to five new customer care centers’ and 600 new retail stores located in small towns, plus nearly 100,000 locally hired engineering and construction jobs specific to its 5G network build-outs.”

7) EPA Says Obama-era Mercury Rules Not Justified Based on Benefits: “The Trump administration’s review determined almost all the lives saved and health benefits the Obama EPA calculated as accruing from MATS came not from curbing mercury itself but as a co-benefit from reducing particulate matter and other pollutants that would also decline as power plants reduced mercury emissions. Because these pollutants were already being reduced under regulations directly targeting them, Trump’s EPA determined the Obama administration had unjustifiably double-counted MATS benefits to justify persisting in enforcing the rule despite the Supreme Court’s ruling.”

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