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Who Needs Lobbyists? Darrell Issa Asks GOP's Corporate Masters for a Wish-List of Deregulation

Issa wants to hand the government over to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and a who's who of corporate America.

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  • In 1947, Charles Farrington of the National Coal Association warned Congress that strengthening safety measures contained in the Federal Mine Safety Code will "create rules and regulations under which many safe mines would be required to be abandoned, because it is impossible to attain perfection."
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  • Despite growing public concern about the tragic consequences of Thalidomide, a sedative that was withdrawn from the market after being found to be a cause of serious birth defects, the drug and cosmetic industry opposed the Drug Industry Act of 1962, which required drug manufacturers to provide proof of the effectiveness and safety of their drugs before approval, required drug advertising to disclose accurate information about side effects, and stopped cheap generic drugs being marketed as expensive drugs under new trade names as new "breakthrough" medications. Edward Breck, CEO of John Breck, Inc. claimed that government regulation wasn't necessary because manufacturers would be "foolhardy not to carefully formulate and test the product to all practicable lengths before asking for consumer acceptance."
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  • In 1963, the Glass Container Manufacturers Association warned that passage of the Equal Pay Act was so burdensome that employers "may stop hiring women altogether. If that happens, pretty soon women would be right back in the place some men think they never should have left."
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  • In 1970, the American Automobile Association warned that if Congress enacted the auto emission requirements in the Clear Air Act, auto companies "would be forced to shut down."
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  • In 1971, bemoaning the evils of mandatory seat belts and headrests, Lee Iacocca, president of Ford Motor Company, told President Nixon that "the shoulder harnesses, the headrests are complete wastes of money... You can see that safety has killed all of our business."
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  • In 1973, three years after Congress passed and President Nixon signed the Occupational Safety and Health Act, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce continued to argue that it was unnecessary. It claimed that "Employers do not deliberately allow work conditions to exist which cause injury or illness. Safety is good business."
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  • In 1987, as Congress was considering laws allowing employees to take unpaid leaves to deal with the medical needs of family members, John Sloane Jr., president of the National Federation of Independent Businesses, warned that they are "the greatest threats to small business in America." Six years later, Congress passed the Family Medical Leave Act.
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  • In the late 1980s, the National Association of Manufacturers opposed government efforts to prevent acid rain. "The present state of knowledge on the causes and effects of acid rain is, at best, ambiguous," the lobby group claimed. It also warned that, if adopted, the legislation would achieve "the dubious distinction of moving the United States towards the status of a second-class industrial power by the end of the century."
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  • In 1990, the U.S. Business Roundtable warned that if Congress adopted proposed amendments to the Clear Air Act "a minimum of 200,000 (plus) jobs will be quickly lost, with plants closing in dozens of states. This number could easily exceed 1 million jobs -- and even 2 million jobs."
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  • In 2004, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce argued that minimum wage laws "ignore the principles of free market economies" and "prevent businesses from making profits."
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  • In 2010, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and every Republican member of Congress said that the Financial Reform Bill was a "job killer." Chamber CEO Tom Donahue said the bill "exacerbates uncertainties for Main Street and America's job creators."

 

 
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