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Federal Rules Fight Sparks Reunion

Bill Clark/Roll Call
Gary Bass, the founder of OMB Watch, helped lead the fight against Republican deregulation proposals in the mid-1990s. Now, he’s re-creating a coalition to challenge the new GOP regulatory agenda.

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Wayne Brough, vice president for research at FreedomWorks, said the tea party wave has created "a real opportunity" for regulatory reform for the first time in years and noted that many of the original reform proposals of 1995 never became law.

"After the '94 win in Congress, a lot of the groups thought reg reform would be a slam dunk ... and there would never be another bad regulation." Both things proved untrue, Brough said, and "this time I don't see the same exuberance."

But Bass said his group is also committed to a fight.

His coalition "will be doing the research, the rapid response, it will be doing the lobbying," Bass said. "We are not going to let all of these claims go unsubstantiated this time. ... We are not going to just sit back and take it. They may have more money than us, but we are also going to bring out the people who are affected by all this."

The bottom line, Bass said, is that regulation "is not the cause of economic calamity. In terms of mass layoffs as reported by employers ... weather has more impact than government regulation."

Correction: May 4, 2011

The caption accompanying the article misstated the origins of the group OMB Watch. The group was founded in 1983 and went on to lead the opposition to Republican regulatory reform efforts in the mid-1990s.

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