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As NPR's Ari Shapiro reports, this is one more way in which the Obama White House has been reaching out both to the business community and to the political center.
ARI SHAPIRO: White House spokesman Robert Gibbs described the review.
ROBERT GIBBS: This is simply for the relevant agencies to go back and ensure that the regulations that are currently on their books go through a process that measures the costs and the benefits, that ensures, I think, the very commonsense idea that we must protect the health and the safety of the American people without impeding our economic growth.
SHAPIRO: In a statement, Tita Freeman of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said this is a good first step, but doesn't go far enough.
TITA FREEMAN: Congress should reclaim some of the authority it has delegated to the agencies and implement effective checks and balances on agency power.
SHAPIRO: But White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said concerns about the business community or the Republican Party had nothing to do with the White House's decision.
GIBBS: This is something that has been long in the works.
SHAPIRO: Todd McCracken is president and CEO of the National Small Business Association.
TODD MCCRACKEN: We think it's an important principle that the federal government recognize that small companies operate differently, and a regulatory requirement that might make sense for an Exxon needs to be thought about in a different way for an Exxon service station.
SHAPIRO: University of Maryland law professor Rena Steinzor is president of the Center for Progressive Reform, and while she was not at the White House meeting, she's concerned, too.
RENA STEINZOR: Think about all the disasters that we have suffered in the last couple of years: the Deepwater Horizon spill; the Big Branch mine; peanut paste with salmonella; Toyotas that suddenly accelerate; cadmium in children's jewelry. What you see is a massive failure of a regulatory system. A regulatory system that is dysfunctional.
SHAPIRO: She believes that the White House is pandering to big business at the expense of public safety.
STEINZOR: A look-back provision means that these agencies, which are drastically underfunded, will need to stop doing essential work on food safety, greenhouse gases, imports from China, and put all their time into figuring out what regulations are on the books that business doesn't like.
SHAPIRO: Ari Shapiro, NPR News, the White House.
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