WASHINGTON—Business-supported proposals to change how federal agencies make decisions are gaining some momentum in Congress, but it's too early to say whether they ultimately will be enacted, according to plastics industry observers.
A Senate bill that would toughen cost-benefit and risk-assessment analyses that agencies must consider when making new rules passed a key committee March 11 and now goes to the full Senate, said Lewis Freeman, vice president of government affairs for the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. in Washington.
The bill stands a strong chance of getting serious attention in the House, if the Senate can pass its version in April or May, Freeman said.
Such reforms typically are listed among the top legislative priorities of SPI's business units, he said.
Opponents have argued that regulatory reform is an attempt by businesses to gut the power of federal agencies.
However, such rules a decade ago probably would have prevented styrene from being reclassified as a carcinogen, a decision that spurred the creation of the Styrene Information and Research Center, and more recently might have stalled new Environmental Protection Agency rules that address ozone and particulate matter emissions, according to Freeman.
A related House effort to establish a congressional office to review federal rules passed some committees in March, and is expected to go to the full House soon, he said.