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 HeitkampThe Hill's Morning Report — Biden steadies in third debate as top tier remains the same Trump wins 60 percent approval in rural areas of key states Pence to push new NAFTA deal in visit to Iowa MORE (D-N.D.) and Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinStatesmen seek bipartisan solutions to big challenges Both sides have reason to want speedy Trump impeachment trial No one wins with pro-abortion litmus test 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.

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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.”