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Regulatory reform bill hung up in Senate

Regulatory reform may be a popular cause on Capitol Hill, accepted (in principle at least) by both parties. But passing specific legislation is another matter.
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FILED IN:  Trends and Issues  > Regulatory
     

The House wrapped up its regulatory reform bill last March 3 but Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole (R-KS) has run into stiffening opposition to his bill. Opponents have made an issue of food safety in an effort to demonstrate that Republican reform will go too far undermining health and safety regulations. Ironically they have zeroed in on the Delaney Clause which is replaced in Dole's bill by a negligible risk standard. Delaney which prohibits any level of carcinogen in pro-cessed foods seems to prove the reformers' case. The 1958 law is badly outdated and virtually impossible to enforce now that ad-vances in technology allow scientists to measure substances in the parts per trillion. Dole called two press conferences in mid-July at which he presented a line-up of Senators food safety experts risk assessment specialists and former government administrators who all favored dumping Delaney and passing the regulatory reform measure. An angry Dole accused Democrats of demagoguery on the food safety issue and using fear tactics for political gain. "They think they have a political issue if they can keep the distortions circulating" Dole said. He added that the media play an important role in perpetuating the misconceptions.

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