Heitkamp, Manchin under pressure over GOP regs bill

Heitkamp, Manchin under pressure over GOP regs bill
© Greg Nash

Two Senate Democrats are coming under scrutiny for “helping” Republicans push legislation that critics say would weaken regulations.

Nearly 80,000 petitioners are calling on Sens. Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampWells Fargo chief defends bank's progress in tense Senate hearing Dems plan to make gun control an issue in Nevada Red-state Dems need more from Trump before tax embrace MORE (D-N.D.) and Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinOvernight Energy: EPA aims to work more closely with industry Overnight Finance: Lawmakers grill Equifax chief over hack | Wells Fargo CEO defends bank's progress | Trump jokes Puerto Rico threw budget 'out of whack' | Mortgage tax fight tests industry clout Lawmakers try again on miners’ pension bill MORE (D-W.Va.) to abandon efforts to pass the Regulatory Accountability Act, which they co-sponsored.

Heitkamp and Manchin are considered among the most vulnerable Senate Democrats on the ballot in 2018, running for reelection in states President Trump won handily.

The Regulatory Accountability Act would require federal regulators to publish the most “cost-effective” rules as determined by a cost-benefit analysis.

Republicans say this will prevent federal agencies from issuing heavy-handed regulations, but most Democrats believe it will weaken protections for the environment and public health.

Heitkamp and Manchin are facing criticism for crossing the aisle, but it is unclear whether Republicans can win the support of another six Democrats to pass the bill in the upper chamber.

“For a long time, Republicans have pushed bills that would hamstring regulators by adding,” the petition reads. “Democrats should resist giving giant corporations free rein to scam, poison and exploit — not help.

“We need to make it clear that this abandonment of progressive values is completely unacceptable.”

Critics say the bill would “cripple” regulators and “paralyze the people who keep us safe.”

The petitioners hope to “keep the pressure on” Heitkamp and Manchin.

“Regulators trying to protect their families and neighbors already have to jump through hundreds of hoops,” the petition reads. “Heitkamp wants to make that even harder by forcing regulators to do a cost-benefit analysis over and over, at every step in the process.”