The Enforcement Working Group, a new collective that includes the Center for Effective Government, Public Citizen, the Economic Policy Institute and the Natural Resources Defense Council, is ready to unveil polling to support its case.
The majority of voters favor increased enforcement of the regulations, according to the survey. This rebuffs claims from congressional Republicans and business groups that the public believes accumulated state and federal rules are job-killers and economic depressants.
“With near unanimity, voters believe there should be increased enforcement of laws and regulations in the U.S.,” according to the telephone survey of 700 likely voters, conducted by the firm Lake Research Partners.
“When it comes to enforcement, do agencies have authority to hold violators accountable? Sadly, the answer is often no,” said Amit Narang, a regulatory policy advocate at Public Citizen, in a prepared statement.
The groups will press Congress on two fronts. They demand appropriators to provide agencies with the funding needed to enforce their rules. Current budgetary limits hamstring OSHA, permitting it to inspect workplaces roughly once a century, on average, Narang said.
The coalition is also wants legislators to give agencies greater powers to penalize violators. This includes an increased ability to pursue criminal cases. Narang said OSHA cannot levy more than a $70,000 fine for deaths linked to regulatory violations.
“The public is ready for jail time for corporate executives that engage in criminal activity,” Narang said.