ASBC asks House to throw out regulatory reform bill

The American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC) is asking the House Judiciary Committee to throw out the Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act, saying it would hurt not help small businesses.

The bill, introduced in the House on Monday by Rep. Steve Chabot, would require government regulators to include the indirect impacts, in addition to the direct impacts of a rule.

The Judiciary Committee is expected to debate and amend the bill, which passed in the last two consecutive sessions in the House, later today. The legislation, however, failed previously to move in the Democratic-led Senate, something advocates are hoping will be different this time around with Republicans in control. 

But ASBC said the bill would halt the regulatory process, which levels the playing field for businesses to compete, and give big corporations more influence.  

“Eroding the operational capacity of regulatory agencies to do their jobs, as this bill appears designed to do, would not foster productive growth among small and mid-sized firms,” said David Levine, ASBC president and CEO. 

“Instead these actions would allow the largest firms to further dominate the marketplace. For example, this bill would open the door for regulated industries to manipulate the regulatory process in their favor.”

If passed, the bill would also force agencies to hold a small business advocacy review panel when a rule impacts a large number of small businesses, giving them a greater voice in the rule making process. 

But ASBC pointed to a report from the Center for Effective Government, which found that those advocacy panels are often stacked with big business representatives. 

“Blocking, weakening or delaying critical standards and safeguards will only worsen the uneven economic playing field that leaves many small and medium-sized businesses at a competitive disadvantage,” Levine said. “It also inhibits innovation in new technologies that can create good, sustainable jobs and create safer products, workplaces and communities.”