The Senator from Tennessee.
Mr. President, I rise in support of the nomination of Dr. John Graham for the position of Administrator of OMB's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.
On May 23, the Governmental Affairs Committee reported the nomination of Dr. Graham with a vote of 9-3 or 11-4, if you count proxies. The bipartisan vote included Republican members of the committee, as well as Senators Levin, Carper, and Carnahan. I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to join us in support of the confirmation of Dr. Graham.
The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, or OIRA, as we will refer to it, was established in 1980 by the Paperwork Reduction Act, legislation developed to address policy issues that Congress was concerned were being neglected by the executive branch. OIRA is primarily charged with being a leader on regulatory review, reducing unnecessary paperwork and red tape, improving the management of the executive branch, reviewing information policy, and guiding statistical policy proposals.
The decisions and actions of the OIRA administrator are very important to the public and should be made by a particularly capable and dedicated individual. John Graham fits this profile.
John Graham has been a professor of policy and decision sciences at the Harvard School of Public Health since 1985. He is the founder and director of the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis. He has worked with various Federal agencies through his research, advisory committees, and as a consultant. He holds a bachelor's degree in public affairs from Duke University and a Ph.D. in urban and public affairs from Carnegie Mellon University with an emphasis on decision sciences.
In addition, the EPA funded his postdoctoral fellowship in environmental science and public policy, and he completed course work in research training and human health risk assessment.
In 1995, Dr. Graham was elected president of the International Society for Risk Analysis, a membership organization of 2,000-plus scientists, engineers, and scholars dedicated to advancing the tools of risk analysis.
We have received testimonials attesting to the credentials and integrity of Dr. Graham from hundreds of esteemed authorities in the environmental policy, health policy, and related fields. William Reilly, the former Administrator of EPA, said that ``over the years, John Graham has impressed me with his vigor, his fair-mindedness, and integrity.''
Dr. Lewis Sullivan, former Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services said that ``Dr. Graham is superbly qualified to be the IORA administrator.''
Former OIRA Administrators from both Democratic and Republican administrations have conveyed their confidence that John Graham is not an opponent of all regulation but, rather, he is deeply committed to seeing that regulation serves broad public purposes as effectively as possible.
Dr. Robert Leiken, a respected expert on regulatory policy at the Brookings Institution, stated that Dr. Graham is the most qualified person ever nominated for the job of OIRA Administrator.
About 100 scholars in environmental and health policy and related fields joined together to endorse John Graham's nomination stating:
While we don't always agree with John or, for that matter, with one another on every policy issue, we do respect his work and his intellectual integrity. It is very regrettable that some interest groups that disagree with John's views on the merits of particular issues have chosen to impugn his integrity by implying that his views are for sale rather than confronting the merits of his argument. Dialog about public policy should be conducted at a higher level.
Having dealt with this nomination for many months, I think that quote really hits the nail on the head. Some groups oppose Dr. Graham because they don't agree with his support for sound science and better regulatory analysis. But they have chosen to engage in attacks against him instead of addressing the merits of his thinking.
It is especially unfortunate since this nominee has done so much to advance an important field of thought that can help us achieve greater environmental health and safety protection at less cost.
While some groups oppose the confirmation of Dr. Graham, I believe their concerns have been addressed and should not dissuade the Senate from confirming Dr. Graham. For example, Joan Claybrook, the President of Public Citizen, has charged that Dr. Graham's views are antiregulation. Yet Dr. Graham's approach calls for smarter regulation based on science, engineering, and economics, not necessarily less regulation. He has shown that we can achieve greater protections than we are currently achieving.
Opponents have charged that Dr. Graham is firmly opposed to most environmental regulations. In fact, Dr. Graham and his colleagues have produced scholarships that supported a wide range of environmental policies, including toxic pollution control at coke plants, phaseout of chemicals that deplete the ozone layer, and low-sulfur diesel fuel requirements. Dr. Graham also urged new environmental policies to address indoor pollution, outdoor particulate pollution, and tax credits for fuel-efficient vehicles.
Dr. Graham believes that environmental policy should be grounded in science, however, and examined for cost-effectiveness. Dr. Graham and his colleagues have also developed new tools for chemical risk assessment that will better protect the public against noncancer health effects, such as damage to the human reproductive and immune systems.
Dr. Graham's basic regulatory philosophy was adopted in the Safe Drinking Water Act amendments of 1996, a life-saving law that both Democrats and Republicans overwhelmingly supported, including most of us here today.
Critics have claimed that Professor Graham seeks to increase the role of economic analysis in regulatory decisionmaking and freeze out intangible and humanistic concerns. This is inaccurate. In both of his scholarly writings, and in congressional testimony, Professor Graham rejected purely numerical monetary approaches to cost-benefit analyses. He has insisted that intangible contributions, including fairness, privacy, freedom, equity, and ecological protection be given way in both regulatory analysis and decisionmaking.
Dr. Graham and the Harvard Center have shown that many regulatory policies are, in fact, cost-effective, such as AIDS prevention and treatments; vaccination against measles, mumps, and rubella; regulations on the sale of cigarettes to minors; enforcement of seatbelt laws; the mandate of lead-free gasoline; and the phaseout of ozone-depleting chemicals.
Critics also claimed that Professor Graham's views are extreme because he has indicated that public health resources are not always allocated wisely under existing laws and regulations. Yet this is not an extreme view. It reflects the thrust of the writings on risk regulation by Justice Stephen Breyer, for example--President Clinton's choice for the Supreme Court--as well as consensus statements from diverse groups such as the Carnegie Commission, the National Academy of Public Administration, and the Harvard Group on Risk Management Reform.
Professor Graham made crystal clear at his confirmation hearing that he will enforce the laws of the land, as Congress has written them. He understands that there is significant differences between the professor's role of questioning all ways of thinking and the OIRA Administrator's role of implementing the laws and the President's policy. I believe Dr. Graham will make the transition from academia to Government service smoothly, and that he will use his valuable experience to bring more insight to the issues that confront OIRA every day.
A fair review of the deliberations of the Governmental Affairs Committee, and the entire record, lead me and many of my colleagues to conclude that Dr. John Graham has the qualifications and the character to serve the public with distinction.
A respected professor at the University of Chicago put it this way. He says:
John Graham cannot be pigeonholed as conservative or liberal on regulatory issues. He is unpredictable in the best sense. I would not be surprised at all if in some settings he turned out to be a vigorous voice for aggressive governmental regulation. In fact, that is exactly what I would expect. When he questions regulations, it is because he thinks we can use our resources in better ways. It is because he thinks that we can use our resources in ways that do not necessarily meet the eye. On this issue, he stands as one of the most important researchers and most promising public servants in the Nation.
I urge prompt confirmation of John Graham.
I reserve the remainder of my time and yield the floor.
The Senator from Illinois is recognized.
Madam President, before beginning my remarks, I would like to have a clarification, if I can, as to the allocation of time in this debate.
There is 1 hour under the control of Mr. Lieberman, 3 hours under the control of Mr. Thompson, 2 hours under the control of Mr. Durbin, 2 hours under the control of Mr. Wellstone, and 15 minutes under the control of Mr. Kerry.
I thank the Chair. Madam President, I rise to speak in opposition to the nomination of John Graham for the position of Administrator for the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs at
This is a rare experience for me. I think it is the first time in my Senate career, in my congressional career, where I have spoken out against a nominee and attempted to lead the effort to stop his confirmation. I do this understanding that the deck is not stacked in my favor. Many Members of the Senate will give the President his person, whoever it happens to be, and that is a point of view which I respect but disagree with from time to time. I also understand from the Governmental Affairs Committee experience that the Republican side of the aisle--the President's side of the aisle--has been unanimous in the support of John Graham, and that is understandable, both out of respect for the nominee and the President himself.
Having said that, though, the reason I come to the floor this evening and the reason I asked for time in debate is because I believe this is one of the most dangerous nominations that we are going to consider--dangerous in this respect: Although the office which Mr. John Graham seeks is obscure by Washington standards, it is an extremely important office. Few people are aware of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs and just how powerful the office of regulatory czar can be. But this office, this senior White House staff position, exercises enormous authority over every major Federal regulation the Government has under consideration. Because of this, the OIRA Administrator must have a commitment to evenhandedness, objectivity, and fair play in analyzing and presenting information about regulatory options.
Do you often sit and wonder, when you hear pronouncements from the Bush White House, for example, on arsenic in drinking water and increasing the acceptable level of arsenic in drinking water, who in the world came up with that idea? There might be some business interests, some industrial and corporate interests, who have a specific view on the issue and have pushed it successfully in the administration. But somebody sitting in the Bush White House along the way said: That sounds like a perfectly sound idea. And so they went forward with that suggestion.
Of course, the public reaction to that was so negative that they have had time to reconsider the decision, but at some time and place in this Bush White House, someone in a position of authority said: Go forward with the idea of allowing more arsenic in drinking water in the United States.
I do not understand how anyone can reach that conclusion at all, certainly not without lengthy study and scientific information to back it up, but it happened. My fear is, John Graham, as the gatekeeper for rules and regulations concerning the environment and public health, will be in a position to give a thumbs up or a thumbs down to suggestions just like that from this day forward if he is confirmed.
I think it is reasonable for us to step back and say: If he has that much power, and we already have seen evidence in this administration of some rather bizarre ideas when it comes to public health and the environment, we have a right to know what John Graham believes, what is John Graham's qualification for this job, what is his record in this area? That is why I stand here this evening.
I want to share with my colleagues in the Senate and those who follow the debate the professional career of Mr. John Graham which I think gives clear evidence as to why he should not be confirmed for this position.
Let me preface my remarks. Nothing I will say this evening, nothing I have said, will question the personal integrity of John Graham. I have no reason to do that, nor will I. What I will raise this evening relates directly to his professional experience, statements he has made, views he holds that I think are central to the question as to whether or not we should entrust this important and powerful position to him.
Some in the Governmental Affairs Committee said this was a personal attack on John Graham. Personal in this respect: I am taking his record as an individual, a professional, and bringing it to the Senate for its consideration. But I am not impugning his personal integrity or his honesty. I have no reason to do so.
I assumed from the beginning that he has done nothing in his background that will raise questions along those lines. I will really stick this evening to things he has said in a professional capacity, and in sticking to those things, I think you will see why many have joined me in raising serious questions about his qualifications.
On the surface, John Graham strikes some of my colleagues in the Senate as possessing the qualities of objectivity and evenhandedness we would expect in this position. He is seen by many as eminently qualified for the position. After all, he is a leading expert in the area of risk analysis and has compiled a lengthy list of professional accomplishments.
I have heard from colleagues on both sides of the aisle, whom I respect, that they consider him the right man for the job. So I think it is important for me this evening to spell out in specific detail why I believe that is not the case, why John Graham is the wrong person to serve as the Nation's regulatory czar.
Professor Graham's supporters painted a picture of him as evenhanded and objective. They say he supports environmental regulations as long as they are well drafted and based on solid information. My colleague, the Senator from Tennessee, said as much in his opening statement.
A casual glance at Dr. Graham's record may lead one to conclude this is an accurate portrayal. As they say, the devil is in the details. A careful reading of the record makes several things absolutely clear: Dr. Graham opposes virtually all environmental regulations. He believes that many environmental regulations do more harm than good. He also believes that many toxic chemicals--toxic chemicals--may be good for you. I know you are wondering, if you are following this debate, how anyone can say that. Well, stay tuned.
John Graham favors endless study of environmental issues over taking actions and making decisions--a classic case of paralysis by analysis. Dr. Graham's so-called objective research is actually heavily influenced by policy consideration, and he has had a built-in bias that favors the interest of his industrial sponsors.
He has been connected with Harvard University, and that is where his analysis has been performed, at his center. He has had a list of professional clients over the years.
Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that this list of clients be printed in the Record.
There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in the Record, as follows:
3M. Aetna Life & Casualty Company. Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. Alcoa Foundation. American Automobile Manufacturers Association. American Chemistry Council. American Crop Protection Association. American Petroleum Institute. Amoco Corporation. ARCO Chemical Company. ASARCO Inc. Ashland Inc. Foundation. Association of American Railroads. Astra AB. Astra-Merck. Atlantic Richfield Corporation. BASF. Bethlehem Steel Corporation. Boatmen's Trust. Boise Cascade Corporation. BP America Inc. Cabot Corporation Foundation Carolina Power and Light. Cement Kiln Recycling Coalition. Center for Energy and Economic Development. Chevron Research & Technology Company. Chlorine Chemistry Council. CIBA-GEIGY Corporation. Ciba Geigy Limited. CITGO Petroleum Company. The Coca-Cola Company. Cytec Industries. Dow Chemical Company. DowElanco. DuPont Agricultural Products. Eastman Chemical Company. Eastman Kodak Company. Edison Electric Institute. E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Company. Electric Power Research Institute. Emerson Electric. Exxon Corporation. FBC Chemical Corporation. FMC Corporation. Ford Motor Company. Fort James Foundation. Frito-Lay. General Electric Fund. General Motors Corporation. The Geon Company. Georgia-Pacific Corporation. Glaxo-Wellcome, Inc. The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company. Grocery Manufacturers of America. Hoechst Celanese Corporation. Hoechst Marion Roussel. Hoffman-LaRoche Inc. ICI Americas Inc. Inland Steel Industries. International Paper. The James Riber Corporation Foundation. Janssen Pharmaceutical. Johnson & Johnson. Kraft Foods. Louisiana Chemical Association. Lyondell Chemical Company. Mead Corporation Foundation. Merck & Company. Microban. Millenium Chemical Company. Mobil Foundation, Inc. Monsanto Company. National Food Processors Association. National Steel. New England Power Service--New. England Electric System. Nippon Yakin Kogyo. North American Insulation Manufacturers Association. Novartis Corporation. Novartis International. Olin Corporation Charitable Trust. Oxford Oil. Oxygenated Fuels Association. PepsiCo Inc. The Pittston Company. Pfizer. Pharmacia Upjohn. Potlatch Corporation. Praxair, Inc. Procter & Gamble Company. Reynolds Metals Company Foundation. Rhone-Poulenc, Inc. Rohm and Haas Company. Schering-Plough Corporation. Shell Oil Company Foundation. Texaco Foundation. Union Carbide Foundation. Unocal. USX Corporation. Volvo. Westinghouse Electric Corporation. Westvaco. WMX Technologies, Inc. Zeneca. (Source: Harvard Center for Risk Assessment).
I thank the Chair. I will not go through all of the companies on this list. It reads like, as they say, a veritable list of who's who of industrial sponsors in America: Dow Chemical Company, all sorts of institutes, the Electric Power Research Institute, oil companies, motor companies, automobile manufacturers, chemical associations--the list goes on and on.
These corporate clients came to Professor Graham not to find ways to increase regulation on their businesses but just for the opposite, so that he can provide through his center a scientific basis for resisting Government regulation in the areas of public health and the environment.
I am an attorney by profession, and I understand that when there is balance in advocacy you have an objective presentation: Strong arguments on one side and strong arguments against, and then you try to reach the right conclusion. So I am not going to gainsay the work of Dr. Graham in representing his corporate clients over the years, but it is important for us to put this in perspective.
If Dr. Graham is appointed to this position, his clients will not be the corporations of America, his clients will be the 281 million Americans who count on him to make decisions in their best interest when it comes to environmental protection and protection of the health of their families.
When we look at his professional background, it raises a question about his objectivity. He has had little respect for the environmental concerns of most Americans--concerns about toxic chemicals in drinking water, pesticides in our food, or even the burial of radioactive waste. To John Graham, these are not major concerns. In fact, as you will hear from some of his statements that I will quote, he believes they reflect a paranoia in American culture.
Dr. Graham's supporters have taken issue with my categorizing his views as antiregulatory. They say, and it has been said on the floor this evening, John Graham supports environmental regulations: just look at the statements he has made about removing lead from gasoline. That was said this evening: John Graham supports removing lead from gasoline.
I certainly hope so. And my colleagues know, it is true, John Graham has stated clearly and unequivocally that he thought removing lead from gasoline was a good idea. Do my colleagues know when that decision was made? Decades before John Graham was in any position to have impact on the decision. It is a decision in which he had no involvement in any way whatsoever.
What has he done for the environment lately? What does he think of the recent crop of environmental regulations? On this matter, his opinions are very clear. According to John Graham, environmental regulations waste billions, if not trillions, of taxpayers' dollars. According to John Graham, our choice of environmental priorities actually kills people through a process Mr. Graham calls ``statistical murder,'' something that pops up in his work all the time.
According to John Graham, we should massively ship resources away from environmental problems such as toxic chemicals to more important activities that he has identified, such as painting white lines on highways and encouraging people to stop smoking.
This is a recent quote from Dr. Graham:
The most cost-effective way to save lives generally is to increase medical treatment, and somewhat second, to curb fatal injuries. Trying to save lives by regulating pesticides or other toxins generally used up a lot of resources.
I can recall during the time we were debating the potential of a nuclear holocaust, there was a man named Richard Perle in the Reagan administration who said he didn't think we should be that frightened because if we did face a nuclear attack, in his words, ``with enough shovels,'' we could protect ourselves.
When I read these words of Dr. Graham who says, ``The most cost-effective way to save lives generally is to increase medical treatment, and somewhat second, to curb fatal injuries,'' and then he says that ``regulating pesticides and toxins uses up a lot of resources'' can you see why I believe he has been dismissive of the basic science which he is going to be asked to implement and enforce in this office?
This quote is a little bit understated. In other documents, Mr. Graham refers to spending money on control of toxins as ``an outrageous allocation of resources.'' This captures the very heart of Graham's philosophy. Environmental regulations to control toxic chemicals are an enormous waste of resources, in the mind of John Graham. It makes little sense, according to Graham, to focus on environmental problems. Instead, we should use our scarce public policy dollars for other more important issues.
Why does John Graham hold such strong views opposing environmental regulations? Because he believes toxic chemicals just are not that toxic. Dr. Graham has said the so-called ``toxic chemicals'' may actually be good for us. I will read some of the transcript from his hearing on the whole question of dioxin.
Now, Dr. Graham supports these beliefs based on what he calls ``a new paradigm,'' the idea that there may well be an optimum dose for toxic chemicals or for other environmental hazards such as radiation. The idea behind this optimum dose theory is there is an exposure that is good for people in small amounts even if the chemical or radiation is harmful in larger quantities.
In a conference on this new paradigm at which Graham was a featured speaker, he urged his colleagues:
Advocates of the new paradigm need to move beyond empiricism to explanation if we can explain why low doses are protective, the prospects of a genuine scientific revolution are much greater.
A scientific revolution inspired by John Graham.
Well, the obvious question I had of Mr. Graham when he came to the Governmental Affairs Committee was as follows:
Mr. Durbin: Dr. Graham, when I look at your resume, I'm curious; do you have any degrees or advanced training in the field of chemistry, for example? Mr. Graham: No, sir. Mr. Durbin: Biology? Mr. Graham: No, sir. Mr. Durbin: Toxicology? Mr. Graham: No. Mr. Durbin: What would you consider to be your expertise? Mr. Graham: I have a Ph.D. in public affairs from Carnegie Mellon, with an emphasis in the field of management science called ``decision science.'' At the School of Public Health, I teach analytical tools and decision science like risk assessment, cost-effective analysis, and cost-benefit analysis. Mr. Durbin: No background in medical training? Mr. Graham: No. I do have a postdoctoral fellowship funded by the Environmental Protection Agency where I studied human health risk assessment and had research experience in doing human health risk assessment on chemical exposures. Mr. Durbin: Does your lack of background in any of these fields that I have mentioned give you any hesitation to make statements relative to the danger of chemicals to the human body? Mr. Graham: I think I have tried to participate in collaborative arrangements where I have the benefit of people who have expertise in some of the fields that you have mentioned. Mr. Durbin: Going back to the old television commercial, ``I may not be a doctor but I play one on TV,'' you wouldn't want to assume the role of a doctor and public health expert when it comes to deciding the safety or danger over the exposure to certain chemicals, would you? Mr. Graham: Well, I think our center and I personally have done significant research in the area of risk assessment of chemicals and oftentimes my role is to provide analytical support to a team and then other people on the team provide expertise, whether it be toxicology, medicine, or whatever.
The reason I raise this is there is no requirement that a person who takes this job be a scientist, a medical doctor, a chemist, a person with a degree in biology or toxicology. That is not a requirement of the job. And very few, if any, of his predecessors held that kind of expertise.
But when you consider carefully what Mr. Graham has said publicly in the field of science, you might conclude that he has much training and a great degree in the field.
That is not the case. He has held himself out time and again, and I will not go through the specifics here, and made dogmatic statements about science that cannot be supported. And he wants to be the gatekeeper on the rules and regulations of public health and the environment in America.
Mr. Graham is, as I said earlier, trying to create a scientific revolution but he acknowledges it is an uphill battle. Why do so few mainstream scientists buy into his theories? Because, says Graham, science itself has a built-in bias against recognizing the beneficial effects of low-dose exposures to otherwise dangerous chemicals such as dioxin.
Scientific journals don't like to publish new paradigm results. In his written works, Dr. Graham goes so far to say the current classification scheme used by the EPA and others to identify cancer-causing chemicals should be abolished and replaced with a scheme that recognizes that all chemicals may not only not cause cancer but may actually prevent cancer, as well.
Perhaps he opposes environmental regulation because he is so convinced that regulations generally do more harm than good. Some of this harkens back, of course, to his new paradigm, his scientific revolution. If we restrict toxic chemicals that are actually preventing, rather than causing, cancer, we wind up hurting, rather than helping, the population at large, according to Dr. Graham. Think about that. He is arguing that some of the things we are trying to protect people from we should actually encourage people to expose themselves to.
If he had scientific backing for this, it is one thing. He doesn't have the personal expertise in the area and very few, if any, come to rally by his side when he comes up with the bizarre views.
He argues environmental regulations hurt us in other ways. They siphon off resources from what he considers the real problem of society, and they introduce new risks of their own, so according to Dr. Graham the cure is worse than the disease. The side effects of environmental regulation are so problematic and many that he refers to them as ``statistical murder.'' Our environmental priorities are responsible for the statistical murder of tens of thousands of American citizens every year, according to Mr. Graham.
Take his well-known example, and he has used it in writings of chloroform regulation. Mr. Graham estimates that chloroform regulation costs more than $1 trillion to save a single life, $1 trillion. And he uses this in an illustration of how you can come up with a regulation that is so expensive you could never justify it--$1 trillion to save one life. What he doesn't say--and the EPA looked at his analysis--that cost of $1 trillion is over a period of time of 33,000 years. Just a little footnote that I think should have been highlighted. How can patently absurd numbers such as this make a contribution to cost-benefit consideration?
There is a bigger problem. The chloroform regulation he refers to doesn't exist and never did. I asked the Congressional Research Service to find out about this regulation on chloroform that Dr. Graham used as an example of statistical murder, where we will spend $1 trillion as a society to save one life. Find out where that took place.
Guess what. It doesn't exist. This is a hypothetical case study for an academic exercise. It is not a regulation. It was never proposed as a regulation nor was it ever considered seriously by anyone. Someone invented this scenario and John Graham seized on it as his poster child of how you can go to ridiculous extremes to protect people from environmental exposure.
Even when Dr. Graham studies the costs and benefits of actual environmental regulations, ones that are truly being considered, his controversial practice of ``discounting" automatically trivializes the benefits of environmental regulation.
We have been through this debate in the Governmental Affairs Committee. There are people on the committee, Democrats and Republicans, who say--and I think this is a perfectly reasonable statement--before you put in a rule or regulation, find out what it is going to cost: What is the cost to society? What is the benefit? I think that is only reasonable. There are certain things we can do to save lives, but at such great expense, society could never bear that burden. The problem you have is in drawing up the statistics, in trying to quantify it, in saying what a life is worth and over what period of time.
Dr. Graham gets into this business and starts discounting human lives in exactly the same way economists and business advisers discount money. A life saved or a dollar earned today, according to Dr. Graham, is much more valuable than a life saved or a dollar earned in the future. Dr. Graham's so-called scientific results led him to conclude that when the Environmental Protection Agency says a human life is worth $4.8 million, by their calculations, they are 10 times too high. That is Dr. Graham's analysis.
How many of us in this Senate Chamber today can honestly say they agree with Dr. Graham's discounting the value of a human life to 10 percent of the amount we have used to calculate many environmental regulations? That is a starting point. If you are representing industrial clients who do not want to be regulated, who suggest environmental regulations and public health regulations are, frankly, outlandish, you start by saying lives to be saved are not worth that much.
Discounting may make sense when it comes to money, but it trivializes the value of human lives and the lives of our next generation and creates an automatic bias against environmental regulations meant to provide protections over a long period of time.
I will be the first to admit there are inefficiencies in our current environmental regulations, but Professor Graham's research hasn't found them. Instead, he consistently identified phantom costs of nonexistent regulations and for years referred to them as if they were the real cost of real environmental regulations. He has played a game with the facts for his purposes, for his clients. But when it comes to the OMB, in this capacity it will be the real world where decisions you make will literally affect the health and future of Americans and their families.
He has introduced misleading information that has really distorted many of the elements of an important policy debate. There are organizations that absolutely love research results that show billions of dollars being wasted by unnecessary environmental regulations--groups such as the Cato Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the American Enterprise Institute, all of whom have made ample use of Professor Graham's scientific studies, scientific revolution--statistical murder; results to strengthen their antiregulatory arguments.
To sum up Dr. Graham's belief, toxic chemicals can be good for you, environmental regulations can be very bad for you.
Not everyone accepts these beliefs, of course. What does Dr. Graham think of those with a different set of priorities? In his mind, it is a sign of collective paranoia, a sign of pervasive weakness and self-delusion that pervades our culture.
If you think I have overstated it, I think his own words express his sentiments more accurately. I would like to refer to this poster, quotes from Dr. Graham.
Interview on CNN, 1993:
We do hold as a society, I think, a noble myth that life is priceless, but we should not confuse that with reality.
Dr. Graham said that. Then:
Making sense of risk: An agenda for Congress in 1996.
John Graham said:
The public's general reaction to health, safety and environmental dangers may best be described as a syndrome of paranoia and neglect.
``Medical Waste News,'' that he has written for, in 1994:
. . . as we've grown wealthier, we've grown paranoid.
Testimony to the House Science Committee in 1995:
We should not expect that the public and our elected officials have a profound understanding of which threats are real and which are speculative.
So the very institution to which we are being asked to confirm this man's nomination has been really dismissed by John Graham as not having sound understanding of threats that are real.
Then he goes on to say, in Issues in Science and Technology, in 1997:
It may be necessary to address the dysfunctional aspects of U.S. culture. . . . The lack of a common liberal arts education . . . breeds ignorance of civic responsibility.
So John Graham can not only portray himself as a doctor, a toxicologist, a biologist, and a chemist, he can also be a sociologist and general philosopher. The man has ample talents, but I am not sure those talents will work for America when it comes to this important job.
I would like to take a look at two issues in detail to give a clearer picture of Dr. Graham's approach to environmental issues of great concern to the American people. I want to examine his record on pesticides and on dioxin. It is not unreasonable to believe if his nomination is confirmed that John Graham will consider rules and regulations relating to these two specific items, pesticides and dioxin.
The Food Quality Protection Act of 1996 passed Congress unanimously--and not just any session of Congress, the 104th Congress, one of the most contentious in modern history, a Congress that could hardly agree on anything. Yet we agreed unanimously to pass this important new food safety law. A key purpose of the law was to provide the public with better protection against pesticides. In particular, the law aimed to provide increased protections to our most vulnerable segment of the population, our children. President Clinton remarked that the Food Quality Protection Act would replace a patchwork of standards with one simple standard: If a pesticide poses a danger to our children, then it won't be in our food.
This groundbreaking legislation received the unanimous support of Congress. What does John Graham, Dr. John Graham, think about the importance of protecting our children from pesticide residues on food? Let me tell you what he said in his work.
The Food Quality Protection Act suffers from the same failings that mark most of our other environmental laws and regulations. Our attempts at regulating pesticides and food are a terrible waste of society's resources. We accept risks from other technologies like the automobile, why should we not accept risks from pesticides? When we regulate, or worse, when we ban pesticides, we often wind up doing more harm than good.
Let me tell you a case in point. I think it is an interesting one. It was a book which Mr. Graham wrote called ``Risk versus Risk.'' This is a copy of his cover. It was edited by John Graham and Jonathan B. Weiner.
I might also add the foreword was written by Cass Sunstein, who is a professor at the University of Chicago School of Law and has one of the letters of support which has already been quoted on the floor. He was a colleague of Mr. Graham, at least in writing the foreword to this book. This goes into the whole question of pesticides and danger. The thing I find curious is this. On page 174 of this book, Mr. Graham, who is asked to be in charge of the rules and regulations relative to pesticides, started raising questions about whether we made the right decision in banning DDT--banning DDT. He says:
Many of the organophosphate pesticides that have been used in place of DDT have caused incidents of serious poisoning among unsuspecting workers and farmers who had been accustomed to handling the relatively nontoxic DDT.
That is a quote--``relatively nontoxic DDT.''
I read an article the other day in the New Yorker which was about DDT and its discovery. Let me read a part of this article--I want to make sure of the sources quoted: Malcolm Gladwell, ``The Mosquito Killer,'' New Yorker, July 2, 2001. If I am not mistaken, that is the same gentleman who wrote the book ``The Tipping Point,'' which I found very good and recommend.
In his article about DDT, he says as follows:
Today, of course, DDT is a symbol of all that is dangerous about man's attempts to interfere with nature. Rachel Carson, in her landmark 1962 book ``Silent Spring,'' where she wrote memorably of the chemical's environmental consequences, how much its unusual persistence and toxicity had laid waste to wildlife in aquatic ecosystems. Only two countries, India and China, continue to manufacture the substance, and only a few dozen more still use it.
In May, at the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, more than 90 countries signed a treaty placing DDT on a restricted use list and asking all those still using the chemical to develop plans for phasing it out entirely. On the eve of its burial, however, and at a time when the threat of insect-borne disease seems to be resurging, it is worth remembering that people once felt very differently about DDT, and between the end of the Second World War and the beginning of the 1960s, it was considered not a dangerous pollutant but a lifesaver.
Mr. Gladwell, in this article, in summarizing the history of DDT, really points to the fact that those who have analyzed it around the world, with the exception of India and China--some 90 nations--abandoned it. John Graham, who wants to be in charge of the rules and regulations on pesticides, the environment, and public health, wrote:
It was relatively nontoxic.
This is a man who wants to make a decision about pesticides and their impact on the health of America.
According to Dr. Graham, it may have been an ill-advised decision to take DDT off the market. He cites in this book that I quoted how DDT was particularly effective in dealing with malaria. No doubt it was. But it was decided that the environmental impact of this chemical was so bad that countries around the world banned it.
Let me offer some direct quotes from Dr. Graham from various reports he has written over the years and from the many statements that he has made.
Before I do that, I see my colleague, Senator Wellstone, is in the Chamber. At this time, I would like to yield to him with the understanding that I can return and complete my remarks. I thank him for joining me this evening. I will step down for a moment and return.
I yield to Senator Wellstone.
Mr. President, I thank Senator Durbin. I am very proud to join him. I have a lot of time reserved tonight. I say to colleagues who are here in the Chamber and who are wondering what our timeframe is that I can shorten my remarks.
I am speaking in opposition to the nomination of Mr. John Graham to be Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, within the Office of Management and Budget.
I believe the President should have broad latitude in choosing his cabinet. I have voted for many nominees in the past with whom I have disagreed on policy grounds. I have voted for a number during this Administration, and I'm sure I will vote for more nominees with whom I disagree on policy, sometimes very sharply.
Mr. Graham has been nominated to a sensitive position: Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA). In this role Mr. Graham would be in a position to delay, block or alter rules proposed by key federal agencies. Which agencies?
Let me give you some examples. One would be OSHA. This happens to be an agency with a mandate that is near and dear to my heart. Over the years, I have had the opportunity to do a lot of community organizing, and I have worked with a lot of people who unfortunately have been viewed as expendable. They do not have a lot of clout--political, economic, or any other kind. They work under some pretty uncivilized working conditions.
The whole idea behind OSHA was that we were going to provide some protection. Indeed, what we were going to be saying to companies--in fact, we did the same thing with environmental protection--is, yes, maximize your profits in our private sector system. Yes, organize production the way you choose to do. You are free to do it any way you want to, and maximize your profit any way you want to--up to the point that you are killing workers, up to the point that it is loss of limbs, loss of lives, harsh genetic substances, and people dying early of cancer. Then you can't do it. Thank God, from the point of view of ordinary people, the Government steps in, I would like to say, on our side.
We had a perfect example of that this year in the subcommittee that I chair on employment, safety, and training. I asked Secretary Chao to come. She didn't come. I wanted to ask her about the rule on repetitive stress injury, the most serious problem right now in the workplace. It was overturned. The Secretary said she would be serious about promulgating a rule that would provide protection for the 1.8 million people, or thereabouts, who are affected by this. I wanted to know what, in fact, this administration is going to do.
So far it is really an obstacle.
As Administrator of OIRA, Mr. Graham can frustrate any attempt by OSHA to address 1.8 million repetitive stress injuries workers suffer each year, as reported by employers.
I will just say it on the floor of the Senate. I think it is absolutely outrageous that rule was overturned. I see no evidence whatsoever that this administration is serious about promulgating any kind of rule that would provide workers with real protection.
The Mine Safety and Health Administration, MSHA. The Louisville Courier Journal conducted a comprehensive investigation of illnesses suffered by coal miners due to exposure to coal dust--workers who are supposed to be protected by MSHA regulation. We urgently need vigorous action by MSHA.
As a matter of fact, I couldn't believe it when I was down in east Kentucky in Harlan and Letcher Counties. I met with coal miners. That is where my wife, Sheila, is from. Her family is from there. I hate to admit to colleagues or the Chair that I actually believed that black lung disease was a thing of the past. I knew all about it. I was shocked to find out that in east Kentucky many of these miners working the mines can't see 6 inches in front of them because of the dust problem.
Senator Durbin's predecessor, Senator Simon, worked on mine safety. It was one of his big priorities.
Part of the problem is the companies actually are the ones that monitor coal dust. MSHA has been trying to put through a rule--we were almost successful in getting it through the last Congress--to provide these miners with some protection.
From the point of view of the miners, they don't view themselves as expendable.
The Food and Drug Administration regulates the safety of prescription drugs for children, for the elderly, for all of us. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates pollution of the water and air. For example, EPA will determine what level of arsenic is acceptable in American drinking water. The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is charged with the task of protecting us to the extent possible from salmonella, foot and mouth disease, BSE and other food-borne illnesses.
These and other important Federal regulatory agencies exist to protect Americans and to uphold standards that have been fought for and achieved over decades of struggle.
It is not true that people in Minnesota and people in the country are opposed to Government regulations on their behalf and on behalf of their children so that the water is not poisoned, so that the mines they work in are safe, so that the workplace they work in is safe, so that there are civilized working conditions, so that they don't have too much arsenic in the water their children drink, and so that the food their children eat is safe. Don't tell me people in Minnesota and in the country aren't interested in strong regulation on behalf of their safety and their children's safety.
The Administrator of OIRA must be someone who stands with the American public, someone who sees it as his or her mission to protect the public interest. In my view, John Graham's evident hostility to regulation that protects the public interest, in particular his over-reliance on tools of economic analysis that denigrate the value of regulatory protections, is disqualifying.
This is particularly troublesome when it comes to workplace safety, for example, because his approach flies in the face of statutory language requiring OSHA--again I am fortunate to chair the subcommittee with jurisdiction over OSHA--to examine the economic feasibility of its regulations, as opposed to undertaking the cost/benefit analyses upon which he over-relies.
As the Supreme Court noted in the so-called Cotton Dust Case, embedded in the statutory framework for OSHA is Congress' assumption ``that the financial costs of health and safety problems in the workplace were as large as or larger than the financial costs of eliminating these problems.'' Instead of cost/benefit analyses to guide standard setting, OSHA is statutorily bound to promulgate standards ``which most adequately assur[e], to the extent feasible, on the basis of the best available evidence, that no employee will suffer material impairment of health or functional capacity even if such employee has regular exposure to the hazard dealt with by such standard for the period of his working life.''
In its 30 years of existence the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has made its presence felt in the lives of tens of millions of Americans at all levels of the workforce. OSHA and its related agencies are literally the last, best hope for millions of American workers whose lives would otherwise be put on the line, simply because they need to earn a paycheck. Experience has shown, over and over, that the absence of strong government-mandated safeguards results in workplace exposure to everything from odorless carcinogens to musculoskeletal stress to combustible grain dust to other dangers too numerous to mention.
Since its founding, hundreds of thousands of American workers did not die on the job, thanks to OSHA. Workplace fatalities have declined 50 percent between December of 1970 and December 2000, while occupational injury and illness rates have dropped 40 percent.
Not surprisingly, declines in workplace fatalities and injuries have been most dramatic in precisely those industries where OSHA has targeted its activities. For example, since OSHA came into existence, the manufacturing fatality rate has declined by 60 percent and the injury rate by 33 percent. At the same time, the construction fatality rate has declined by 80 percent and the injury rate by 52 percent.
It is not a coincidence that these two industries have received some of OSHA's closest attention. OSHA's role in assuring so far as possible that every worker is protected from on-the-job hazards cannot be denied.
Unfortunately, however, compared to the demand, there is still a whole lot of work to be done. Indoor air quality, hexavalent chromium, beryllium, permissible exposure limits for hundreds of chemicals in the workplace--this list goes on and on--not to mention repetitive stress injuries. The unfinished agenda is huge. It is precisely this unfinished agenda that should give us pause in confirming, as head of OIRA, someone whose entire professional history seems aimed at frustrating efforts to regulate in the public interest. That is my disagreement. It is a different framework that he represents than the framework that I think is so in the public interest.
Let me just give one example: the chromium story.
Chromium is a metal that is used in the production of metal alloys, such as stainless steel, chrome plating and pigments. It is also used in various chemical processes and it is a component of cement used to manufacture refractory bricks.
The first case of cancer caused by chromium was reported in 1890. Since then, the evidence that it causes cancer continued to grow. Chromium has been declared a carcinogen by the EPA, the National Toxicology Program, and the International Agency for Research on Cancer.
In the early 1980s, it was estimated that 200,000 to 390,000 workers were exposed to hexavalent chromium in the workplace--200,000 to 390,000. Lung cancer rates among factory workers exposed to hexavalent chromium are almost double the expected cancer rate for unexposed workers. Lung cancer rates for factory workers exposed to hexavalent chromium are also double the expected cancer rate for unexposed workers.
OSHA has known the risks associated with exposure to this dangerous carcinogen since its inception but has failed to act. OSHA's assessment, conducted by K.S. Crump Division of ICG Kaiser, was that between 9 percent and 34 percent of workers exposed at half the legal limit for a working lifetime would contract lung cancer as a result of this exposure.
On April 24, 2000, OSHA published its semiannual agenda, which anticipated a notice of proposed rulemaking would be published in June 2001. If confirmed as Administrator of OIRA within the Office of Management and Budget, however, John Graham's actions could affect OSHA's stated willingness to undertake a proposed rule this year, as the agency has finally promised and as is urgently needed.
I will finish by just giving a few examples of how Mr. Graham could negatively impact the process.
No. 1, reduce OSHA's ability to collect information in support of a new standard.
To develop a new hexavalent chromium standard, OSHA would likely need to survey scores of businesses for information about their use of the chemical and about workplace exposures. During the committee hearing on his nomination, Graham said that he supports requiring the federal agencies to do cost-benefit analyses of information requests sent to industry in preparation for a rulemaking. Under the Paperwork Reduction Act, before an information request can be sent to ten entities or more, it must be approved by OMB. Because it is very difficult to judge the value of the information being collected prior to receiving it, Graham could use the paperwork clearance requirement to tangle up the agency in justifying any information requests needed to support a new rule on chromium.
No. 2, insist upon a new risk assessment, despite compelling evidence that chromium poses a cancer risk.
OSHA has conducted its own risk assessment of chromium and reviewed numerous studies documenting that workers working with or around the chemical face considerable increased risk of lung cancer. But it is likely that Graham could exercise his power at OMB to require a new risk assessment of hexavalent chromium, which could further delay the issuance of a rule.
Graham has supported requiring every risk-related inquiry by the federal government to be vetted by a panel of peer review scientists prior to its public release, which would be costly and create significant delays in the development of new regulations. He has argued that the risk assessments done by the federal agencies are flawed, and that OMB or the White House should develop its own risk assessment oversight process. This would allow economists to review and possibly invalidate the findings of scientists and public health experts in the agencies.
No. 3, flunk any rule that fails a stringent cost-benefit test.
Graham is a supporter, for example, of strict cost-efficiency measures, even in matters of public health. Because he views regulatory choices as best driven by cost-based decisionmaking, the worthiness of a rule is determined at least partly by the cost to industry of fixing the problem. This is the opposite of an approach that recognizes that workers have a right to a safe workplace environment.
The OSHA mission statement is ``to send every worker home whole and healthy every day.''
Under the law as it now stands, OSHA is prohibited from using cost-benefit analysis to establish new health standards. Instead, OSHA must set health standards for significant risks to workers at the maximum level that the regulated industry, as a whole, can feasibly achieve and afford. This policy, set into law by the OSHA Act, recognizes the rights of workers to safe and healthful workplaces, and provides far more protection to workers than would be provided by any standards generated under a cost-benefit analysis.
Putting John Graham in the regulatory gatekeeper post would create a grave risk that OSHA protections, such as the hexavalent chromium standard, will not be set at the most protective level that regulated industry can feasibly achieve. We know from his own statements that John Graham will require OSHA to produce economic analyses that will use antiregulation assumptions, and will show protective regulations to fail the cost-benefit tests.
It is true that OSHA is technically authorized to issue standards that fail the cost-benefit test. However, it would be politically nearly impossible for an agency to issue a standard that has been shown, using dubious methodologies, to have net costs for society.
Unfortunately, although I would like nothing better than to be proven wrong, I fear this is not a farfetched scenario. And let there be no question--such steps would absolutely undermine Congress' intent when it passed the Occupational Health and Safety Act 30 years ago.
Let me quote again from the Supreme Court's Cotton Dust decision:
Not only does the legislative history confirm that Congress meant ``feasible'' rather than ``cost-benefit'' when it used the former term, but it also shows that Congress understood that the Act would create substantial costs for employers, yet intended to impose such costs when necessary to create a safe and healthful working environment. Congress viewed the costs of health and safety as a cost of doing business. Senator Yarborough, a cosponsor of the [OSH Act], stated: ``We know the costs would be put into consumer goods but that is the price we should pay for the 80 million workers in America.''
There is one final point I want to make. I will tell you what really troubles me the most about this nomination. And let me just kind of step back and look at the bigger picture, which really gives me pause.
The essence of our Government--small ``d'' democracy--is to create a framework for the protection of the larger public as a whole. I believe in that. And I believe a majority of the people believe in that. It is the majority's commitment to protect the interests of those who cannot protect themselves that sets this great Nation apart from others. That is the essence of our democratic way of life. That is the core of this country's incredible heritage.
But there are a series of things happening here in the Nation's Capitol--stacked one on top of another--that fundamentally undermine the capacity of our Government to serve this purpose of being there for the public interest. I think we have a concerted effort on the part of this administration--and I have to say it on the floor of the Senate--and its allies to undermine the Government's ability to serve the public interest.
First, there was a stream of actual or proposed rollbacks of regulations designed to protect the health and well-being of the people of this country--arsenic in drinking water, global warming emissions, ergonomics--or repetitive stress injuries in the workplace, drilling in the wilderness, energy efficiency standards--it goes on and on.
Then there was the tax cut, making it absolutely impossible for us to protect Social Security and Medicare, or to do near what we should do for children or for the elderly, for the poor or for the vulnerable, for an adequate education or for affordable prescription drugs--no way--in other words, to fund Government, to do what Government is supposed to do, which is to protect the interests of those who cannot protect themselves.
And then, finally, the administration seeks to place in key gatekeeper positions individuals whose entire professional careers have been in opposition to the missions of the agencies they are now being nominated to advance.
I am troubled by this. I think people in the country would be troubled by this if they really understood John Graham's background and the power of his position and, unfortunately, the capacity not to do well for the public interest. This is unacceptable. This is a concerted, comprehensive effort to undermine our Government's ability to protect and represent the interests of those who don't have all the power, who don't have all the capital.
The goal is clear: Roll back the regulations that they can. That is what this administration is about: Defund government programs and place in pivotal positions those with the will and the determination to block new regulations from going forward--new regulations that will protect people in the workplace, new regulations that will protect our environment, new regulations that will protect our children from arsenic in the drinking water, new regulations that will protect the lakes and the rivers and the streams, new regulations that will make sure the food is safe for our children. This is not acceptable. We should say no. That is why I urge my colleagues to join me in defeating this nomination. I include as part of my statement a letter in opposition from former Secretary of Labor Reich and other former agency heads.
I ask unanimous consent that the letter be printed in the Record.
There being no objection, the letter was ordered to be printed in the Record, as follows:
Dear Senators: We write as former federal regulators in response to the nomination of John D. Graham, Ph.D., to direct the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). As OIRA Administrator, Dr. Graham would oversee the development of all federal regulations and he would help shape federal regulatory policy. His decisions will have profound effects on the health, welfare, and environmental quality of all Americans. We are concerned by many of Dr. Graham's expressed views and past actions as Director of the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis, and encourage the committee to conduct a thorough investigation into Dr. Graham's suitability for this position. Since the early 1980s, both Republican and Democratic Presidents have issued Executive Orders granting the OIRA Administrator exceptionally broad authority to approve, disapprove, and review all significant executive agency regulations. In addition, under the Paperwork Reduction Act, the OIRA Administrator has the responsibility to approve and disapprove agency information collection requests, which agencies need to evaluate emerging public health and environmental threats. These powers give the OIRA Administrator a considerable role in determining how important statutes are implemented and enforced. In his written work and testimony before Congress, Dr. Graham has repeatedly argued for an increased reliance on cost-benefit and cost-effectiveness analysis in the regulatory process. We agree that economic analysis generally plays an important role in policy making. But increasing the role that economic analysis plays in rulemaking threatens to crowd out considerations of equal or perhaps greater importance that are harder to quantify and to put in terms of dollars--for example, what is the dollar value of making public spaces accessible so a paraplegic can participate fully in community activities? How should we quantify the worth of protecting private medical information from commercial disclosure? Why is the value of preventing a child from developing a future cancer worth only a small fraction of the value of preventing her from dying in an auto accident? How do you quantify the real value of a healthy ecosystem? In addition, we are concerned that Dr. Graham may have strong views that would affect his impartiality in reviewing regulations under a number of statues. He has claimed that many health and safety statutes are irrational because they do not allow the agencies to choose the regulatory option that maximizes economic efficiency where doing so would diminish public protections. He has repeatedly argued, in his written work and testimony before Congress, that requirements to take the results of cost-benefit and cost-effectiveness analyses into account could supercede congressional mandates that do not permit their use, such as some provisions of the Clean Air Act. [John D. Graham, ``Legislative Approaches to Achieving More Protection Against Risk at Less Cost,'' 1997 Univ. of Chi. Legal Forum 13, 49.] It is important to assure that he can in good conscience carry out the will of Congress even where he has strong personal disagreements with the law. We are also concerned about Dr. Graham's independence from the regulated community. At the Harvard Center for Risk analysis, Dr. Grahams' major source of funding has been from unrestricted contributions and endowments of more than 100 industry companies and trade groups, many of which have staunchly opposed the promulgation and enforcement of health, safety and environmental safeguards. At HCRA, Dr. Graham's research and public positions against regulation have often been closely aligned with HCRA's corporate contributors. In coming years these same regulated industries will be the subject of federal regulatory initiatives that would be intensively reviewed by Dr. Graham and OIRA. It is thus fair to question whether Dr. Graham would be even-handed in carrying out his duties, including helping enforce the laws he has criticized. Might he favor corporations or industry groups who were more generous to his Center? Will he have arrangements to return to Harvard? Is there an expectation of further endowments from regulated industries? There is the potential for so many real or perceived conflicts of interest, that this could impair his ability to do the job. We urge the Government Affairs Committee to conduct a thorough inquiry into each of these areas of concern. We believe that the health, safety and quality of life of millions of Americans deserves such an appropriate response. Thank you for your consideration. Sincerely, Robert B. Reich, Former Secretary of Labor; Ray Marshall, Former Secretary of Labor; Edward Montgomery, Former Deputy Secretary of Labor; Charles N. Jeffress, Former Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety & Health; Eula Bingham, Former Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety & Health; Davitt McAteer, Former Assistant Secretary for Labor for Mine Safety and Health. Lynn Goldman, Former Assistant Administration for Office of Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic Substances, Environmental Protection Agency; J. Charles Fox, Former Assistant Administrator for Water, Environmental Protection Agency; David Hawkins, Former Administrator, for Air Noise and Radiation, Environmental Protection Agency; Joan Claybrook, Former National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; Anthony Robbins, Former Director, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
There are any number of former Federal regulators who have signed on, along with former Secretary Reich. One paragraph:
In his written work and testimony before Congress, Dr. Graham has repeatedly argued for an increased reliance on cost-benefit and cost effectiveness analysis in the regulatory process. We agree that economic analysis plays an important role in policy making. But increasing the role that economic analysis plays in rulemaking threatens to crowd out considerations of equal or perhaps greater importance that are harder to quantify and to put in terms of dollars--for example, what is the dollar value of making public spaces accessible so a paraplegic participate fully in community values? How should we quantify the worth of protecting private medical information from commercial disclosure? Why is the value of preventing a child from developing a future cancer worth only a small fraction of the value of preventing her from dying in an auto accident? How do you quantify the real value of a healthy ecosystem?
That is what is at issue here. Did you notice the other day the report about how children are doing better but not with asthma? Where is the protection going to be for these children? In this cost-benefit analysis, the thing that is never looked at is the cost to the workers who suffer the physical pain in the workplace. What about the cost of a worker who has to quit working and can't support his family because he has lost his hearing or because of a disabling injury in the workplace? What about people who have years off their life and end up dying early from cancer when they shouldn't have, but they were working with these carcinogenic substances? What about the cost to children who are still exposed to lead paint who can't learn, can't do as well in school? What about the cost to all of God's children when we don't leave this Earth better than the way we found it? We are all but strangers and guests in this land. What about the cost of values when we are not willing to protect the environment, we are not willing to be there for our children?
I believe Senators should vote no. Frankly, the more people in the country who find out about this agenda of this administration, they are going to find it to be extreme and harsh and not in the national interest and not in their interest and not in their children's interest. This nomination is a perfect example of that.
I urge my colleagues to vote no and yield the floor.
Who yields time?
Mr. President, I yield 5 minutes to the Senator from Oklahoma.
The assistant Republican leader.
Mr. President, I thank my friend and colleague Senator Thompson for yielding to me. I will be brief.
I have heard our colleagues. I heard part of Senator Wellstone's statement. He said he thought Mr. Graham would be extreme, out of the mainstream, as far as regulating a lot of our industries. I totally disagree.
I am looking at some of the people who are stating their strong support for Dr. John Graham. I will just mention a couple, and I will include for the Record a couple of their statements. One is former EPA Administrator William Reilly. No one would ever call him extreme. He said that John Graham has ``impressed me with his rigor, fairmindedness and integrity.'' Dr. Lewis Sullivan, former Secretary of Health and Human Services, said ``Dr. Graham is superbly qualified to be the OIRA administrator.''
Former administrators from both Democrat and Republican administrations conveyed their confidence that John Graham ``is not an 'opponent' of all regulation but rather is deeply committed to seeing that regulation serves broad public purposes as effectively as possible.''
I looked at this letter. It is signed by Jim Miller and Chris DeMuth, Wendy Gramm, all Republicans, but also by Sally Katzen, who a lot us got to know quite well during a couple of regulatory battles, and John Spotila, both of whom were administrators during President Clinton's reign as President. They served in that capacity. They said he is superbly qualified.
Dr. Robert Leiken, a respected expert on regulatory affairs at the Brookings Institution said that Dr. Graham is ``the most qualified person ever nominated for the job.'' That is a lot when you consider people such as Chris DeMuth and Wendy Gramm, Sally Katzen and others, all very well respected, both Democrats and Republicans. If you had statements by people who have served in the job, both Democrats and Republicans, when you have people who have been former heads of EPA--incidentally, when we passed the clean air bill, I might mention, Administrator Reilly--when they are strongly in support of him, they say he is maybe the most qualified person ever, that speaks very highly of Dr. Graham.
If I believed all of the statements or thought that the statements were accurate that claim he would be bad for the environment, and so on, I would vote with my colleagues from Illinois and Minnesota. I don't happen to agree with that. It just so happens that several former Administrators don't agree with it either.
Dr. Graham is supported by many people who are well respected. He is more than qualified. I believe he will do an outstanding job as OIRA Administrator.
I urge our colleagues, both Democrats and Republicans, to give him an overwhelming vote of support.
I thank my colleagues, Senator Thompson and Senator Levin, for allowing me to speak.
I ask unanimous consent to print in the Record the letters I referenced.
There being no objection, the letters were ordered to be printed in the Record, as follows:
- July 20, 2001
- September 9, 2009
- September 9, 2009
- September 9, 2009
- July 12, 2005
- September 9, 2009
- October 6, 2004
Providing For Consideration Of H.R. 739, Occupational Safety And Health Small Business Day In Court Act Of 2005; H.R. 740, Occupational Safety And Health Review Commission Efficiency Act Of 2005; H…July 12, 2005
- June 12, 2003
- March 25, 1999