Center for American Progress

RELEASE: To See the Dangers of the Regulatory Accountability Act, Look No Further than Cancer-Causing Asbestos
Press Release

RELEASE: To See the Dangers of the Regulatory Accountability Act, Look No Further than Cancer-Causing Asbestos

Washington, D.C. — The Trump administration and Republican leaders in Congress are quietly but forcefully pushing legislation that would undermine the federal government’s ability to implement important health, safety, and consumer protections. The Regulatory Accountability Act, or RAA, is a license to kill that hamstrings agency efforts to respond to emerging threats to Americans’ health and well-being.

In a new column, the Center for American Progress links the Environmental Protection Agency’s, or EPA’s, failed effort to ban asbestos in the late 1980s to the RAA that the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will mark up on May 17. The EPA tried to ban asbestos—a known human carcinogen that causes upward of 15,000 deaths each year—but was blocked by onerous requirements in the Toxic Substances Control Act that put industry’s interests before people’s health and safety. The requirements were so unworkable that Congress changed the law in 2016 on a bipartisan basis. The RAA would resurrect these onerous requirements and apply them to nearly every agency charged with protecting people from risks to their health, safety, or pocketbook.

“By tilting the playing field toward big business and away from hardworking families, Trump’s License to Kill Bill puts us all at risk,” said Alison Cassady, Director of Domestic Energy and Environment Policy at the Center. “The story of asbestos in the United States is a tragic one. It is not history we should repeat.”

Trump’s RAA is part of his grand strategy: Use every available tool to strip people of important health, safety, and consumer protections and then prevent federal agencies from being able to protect people from these and future harms, all in the name of increasing corporate profits. The effort to revive failed requirements that stopped the EPA from regulating asbestos makes clear that the real purpose of this bill is not to create “regulatory accountability” but rather to make sure that industry can play by its own set of rules, regardless of the price paid by Americans.

Click here to read the column.

For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, contact Tom Caiazza at or 202.481.7141.