A newsletter covering regulatory reform efforts in Washington and across America, published by The National Center for Public Policy Research, 501 Capitol Court, N.E., Washington, D.C. 20002 (202) 543-4110, Fax (202) 543-5975, E-mail [email protected]
Issue #33 * December 6, 1995 * David A. Ridenour, Editor
Chairman Clinger to Continue Fight for Restrictions on Agency Lobbying
Last week, William Clinger (R-PA), Chairman of the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee, proposed an amendment to the Lobby Disclosure Act (H.R. 2564) that would have sharply curtailed lobbying activities by federal agencies. The amendment, the Federal Agency Anti-Lobbying Amendment, failed to be approved by the House, due largely to strong House support for a "clean" Lobby Disclosure Act. The measure would have barred agencies from all activities intended to promote public support or opposition to legislation, including such activities as preparing kits, pamphlets, booklets and speeches and would have required government officials who violate the anti-lobbying rules to reimburse the government. Chairman Clinger had introduced the amendment to respond to increasing incidences of lobbying by Executive Branch employees, including efforts by the EPA to generate grassroots opposition to the Clean Water Act Amendments of 1995, among other initiatives. Even though his amendment failed to be approved by the House, Clinger hasn't given up his battle to curb such government abuses: He plans to introduce his reform measure as a free standing bill next year.
As Congress Mulls Future ANWR, New Poll Shows Majority of Americans Support Oil and Gas Leasing.
As budget negotiators continued to debate a provision that would permit oil and gas leasing in a small portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), a new poll was released showing that a majority of the American people support such development. According to the poll, conducted by the Gordon S. Black Corporation, 56% of the American people support some oil and gas leasing in the Coastal Plain of ANWR, while only 37% oppose it. The poll also found that, given a choice between meeting the financial needs of Alaska's Eskimos and giving in to the preservationist demands of professional environmentalists, the public sided with the Eskimos 64% to 24%. Further, a full 89% of those surveyed said they believed the U.S. must develop domestic oil resources and 75% believe local interests should the primary considerations in development plans. Interestingly, only 31% of the public -- according to the poll -- believes that national environmental groups should have influence over resource development issues such as ANWR. The Gordon S. Black Corporation is an independent pollster with membership in the Council of American Survey Research Organizations and the National Council of Public Polls. The poll was conducted November 20-21 and included 1,004 randomly-selected subjects. It has a margin of error of +/- 2.5%.
Measure to Make Controversial Provision of 1990 Clean Air Act Voluntary to be Taken Up in December 12 "Corrections Day."
A bill authored by Representative Donald Manzullo (R-IL) that would make the employee trip reduction program -- a controversial provision of the 1990 Clean Air Act that requires businesses to reduce the number of cars employees use to commute to work -- optional, is headed to the House floor for a vote during the next "Corrections Day," to be held December 12. The bill, H.R. 325, received the unanimous endorsement of the House Commerce Committee on November 29 after an amendment offered by Representative Henry Waxman (D-CA) was approved. The bill is expected to have wide bi-partisan support -- including the support of Representative Waxman. For more information, contact the Mobility Coalition for Clean Air at (202)775-0311.
Small Business Committee Examines 8(a) Abuses.
The House Committee on Small Business, chaired by Rep. Jan Meyers (R-KS), has scheduled a December 12 hearing to review a September 7 General Accounting Office report critical of the Small Business Administration¹s 8(a) program. 8(a) is a program designed to promote businesses owned by disadvantaged individuals by setting aside $4 billion in federal contracts exclusively for these firms. The GAO report, prepared at the request of Senator Sam Nunn (D-GA), found numerous problems, and has contributed to ongoing charges by some in Congress that 8(a) is a program "run amuck." The GAO has repeatedly concluded that 8(a) has problems achieving its objectives. In March and April 1995, for example, the GAO cited as a particular problem the fact that a tiny number of 8(a) participants receive a sharply disproportionate amount of benefit from 8(a) programs, and cited 1990 as an example. In 1990, 2% of all 8(a) program participants received 40% of program benefits.
Regulation Lobby Gears Up for Battle Over Property Rights -- So Should Regulatory Relief Advocates
Regulation lobby groups such as the Sierra Club are gearing up for the battle over the Omnibus Property Rights Act (S. 605) which could go to mark-up in the Senate Judiciary Committee as early as this Thursday. Property rights supporters are being urged to gin up grassroots activity of their own. If approved S. 605 would require compensation to landowners when the value of their property is diminished by 33% or more due to federal regulation. The Sierra Club has been disseminating a number of talking points against S. 605 to its membership. The Club's talking points -- and suitable responses -- follow. Talking Point: For most Americans, takings legislation will mean more taxes. American taxpayers will be forced to subsidize a massive new entitlement program. The U.S. Office of Management and Budget estimates that the House-passed takings bill will cost Americans $28 billion in just seven years. Response: Regulatory takings already cost Americans billions of dollars each year, they are just imposed on relatively few Americans -- private property owners. It is a simple matter of fairness: Individuals should not be forced to shoulder the entire cost -- through losses in property values -- for something the entire nation benefits from. Talking Point: Takings legislation undermines basic public health, safety and environmental protections. Response: The current system of uncompensated takings is what puts the environment at risk. Because landowners fear they will lose productive uses of their land through government fiat -- without compensation -- they have a incentive to extract whatever resources their land has while they still have control over it. Talking Point: Takings legislation would create a new class of bureaucrats to evaluate takings claims and review agency actions for their impact on private property. Response: Bureaucracies can only grow with expanded budget authority. More likely, federal agencies would be forced to reassess their priorities. Key swing voters on the Senate Judiciary are expected to be: Fred Thompson (R-TN), (202)224-4944; Arlen Specter (R-PA), (202)224-4254 and Mike DeWine (R-OH), (202)224-2315.
"Putting People Back Into the Regulatory Equation"
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