Republicans and Democrats released their 2012 platforms Aug. 28 and Sept. 3, respectively, offering starkly different approaches to worker safety in the runup to the presidential election, with the incumbent party offering to stay the course and the challenger agitating for change.
The Republican platform, approved at the party's national convention in Tampa, includes a plank that would trim the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's slate of pending rulemakings.
Democrats countered with a platform that stressed the need to continue with tough enforcement against employers that OSHA deems recalcitrant.
“Many regulations are necessary, like those which ensure the safety of food and medicine, especially from overseas,” reads the Republican document. “But no peril justifies the regulatory impact of Obamacare on the practice of medicine, the Dodd-Frank Act on financial services, or the Environmental Protection Agency's and OSHA's overreaching regulation agenda. A Republican Congress and president will repeal the first and second, and rein in the third.”
Currently in OSHA's rulemaking pipeline are regulations addressing permissible exposure limits to airborne contaminants, silica, infectious diseases, bloodborne pathogens, recordkeeping, walking work surfaces and personal fall protection systems, and an injury and illness prevention program (42 OSHR 69, 1/26/12).
The GOP also said it supports the mandatory reconsideration of old, outdated regulations, and endorses the Regulations From the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act (H.R. 10, S. 299), which would require Congress to vote on all significant regulations--those expected to cost the economy at least $100 million--before they can take effect.
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has pledged to implement the core provisions of the REINS Act by executive order, even if Congress does not approve it.
The House passed the bill in December 2011, but the Senate is unlikely to take it up. Should Romney win the presidency, the bill would have to be reintroduced in each chamber in the new Congress (41 OSHR 1071, 12/15/11; see related story).
“The bottom line on regulations is jobs,” the Republican platform reads. “In listening to America, one constant we have heard is the job-crippling effect of even well-intentioned regulation. That makes it all the more important for federal agencies to be judicious about the impositions they create on businesses, especially small businesses.”
The party also calls for a moratorium on new major rules until a Republican presidential administration can review existing rules “to ensure that they have a sound basis in science and will be cost-effective.”
Democrats, by contrast, offered a platform that promises to maintain the administration's current course on worker protections.
One plank vows to “continue to adopt and enforce comprehensive safety standards.” Another offers to keep seeking and catching employers that fraudulently misclassify full-time workers as independent contractors in order to evade their legal obligations.
But the Democratic platform also finds limited common ground with Republicans in acknowledging a need to simplify the thicket of federal regulations. The Obama administration has, almost since it took office, maintained that stance as a central part of its messaging.
“Rules should be simpler and more flexible, and regulations should be based on sound science and secure Americans' freedom of choice,” the platform reads.
Obama's approach to regulation has been “simpler, smarter, and more cost-effective” than previous approaches, which were “riddled with special rules written by lobbyists,” according to the platform. “But there's no question that some regulations are outdated, unnecessary, or too costly.”
The platform also points to Obama's efforts to review and streamline outdated regulations, which Democrats say will save at least $10 billion over five years (42 OSHR 445, 5/17/12)
By Stephen Lee
The text of the Republican National Committee's 2012 platform is available at http://www.gop.com/2012-republican-platform_home/.
The text of the Democratic National Committee's 2012 platform is available at http://www.scribd.com/doc/104831247/2012-National-Platform.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)