CREW got a hold of a bunch of letters to House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa from trade association, industry, and think tank leaders, which identify aspects of the federal regulatory regime that they believe Issa should investigate to make life and profits easier for businesses.
The one that most neatly reflects the priorities of the conservative movement comes from the Heritage Foundation, which is asking Issa to attack decades worth of regulatory and statutory worker and consumer protections.
Here’s the laundry list:
- Individual health insurance mandate
- Employer health insurance mandate
- Minimum health insurance benefit standards
- All future Consumer Financial Protection Bureau regulations
- Limiting debit card fees
- Transparency for shareholders
- Credit card regulation
- Incandescent light bulb phase out
- Broader energy efficiency standards
- Fuel efficiency standards
- Carbon pollution regulation
- Auto tailpipe standard
- Renewable fuel standards
- Low-income housing promotion
- Corporate accounting requirements
- Net neutrality
- Corporate media ownership rules
- Dairy price controls
- Domestic sugar subsidization
You might not disagree with every one of these. But it’s a broad cross-section of the current protections. It’s also reflects the conservative movement’s reactionary opposition to the least controversial policies — like energy efficient appliances and lighting. “Consumers ought to have a choice among all types of lighting the market has to offer,” the letter reads.
In opposing fuel efficiency standards, Heritage holds that “increased fuel efficiency, by lowering the cost of driving, actually increases travel — thereby negating at least some of the supposed environmental effects.” They also argue, without citation, that “CAFE standards have resulted in tens of thousands of deaths by constraining production of larger, more protective vehicles.” Studies actually show vehicle size doesn’t correspond to vehicle safety.
Issa sent letters to scores of influential players, particularly GOP-friendly ones, asking for their input on his oversight regime. From early January, the National Association of Manufacturer’s response is here. Heritage’s response is probably more valuable as a window into the conservative movement’s interests as a whole. It reflects the intellectual center of gravity of the entire movement, not just the economic incentives of a particular trade association.
Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight, and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.