Aeronautical Repair Station Association

What’s at Stake for ARSA Members in the Farm Bill? More Than Just the Price of Steak

JP-Pic If you’re paying attention to what’s happening in D.C., you might have heard there’s a Farm Bill moving through Congress for the first time in several years. The Senate and House both recently passed separate versions and a conference committee will soon begin work on a compromise bill.

ARSA isn’t actively lobbying the Farm Bill (we’ve got our hands full with our campaign to lift the ban on foreign repair stations), but we’re watching one provision with great interest: Sec. 11307 of the House version. That’s where the House Agriculture Committee dropped in the Sound Science Act of 2013, which was introduced separately earlier this year by Reps. Stephen Fincher, R-Tenn., and Mike McIntyre, D-N.C., as H.R. 1287.

H.R. 1287 is a bipartisan bill that would make incremental – but important – improvements to the way agencies develop policy (regulations, guidance, etc.). It would codify and more rapidly advance an initiative announced by President Obama in 2009 requiring peer review and the disclosure of scientific studies used in making decisions and an opportunity for stakeholder input.

H.R. 1287 would also require federal agencies to give greatest weight to reproducible data that is developed in accordance with the scientific method and have procedures in place “to make policy decisions only on the basis of the best reasonably obtainable scientific, technical, economic, and other evidence and information concerning the need for, consequences of, and alternatives to the decision.”

It’s hard to imagine those mandates won’t have a positive impact on the work of the FAA and other regulatory agencies – OSHA, EPA, etc. – that affect ARSA members’ day-to-day operations.

There are numerous examples of problems in the rulemaking process (FAA’s expansion of drug and alcohol rules in violation of the Reg Flex Act comes to mind). At a time when public trust in government has fallen to an all-time low, legislation like H.R. 1287 can help rebuild voter confidence by ensuring policy decisions are based on reason and repeatable results, not emotion.

To me, the Fincher-McIntyre bill seems like a reasonable way to ensure the federal government relies upon the best data possible when making science-based decisions. Let’s wait and see if Congress agrees.

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July 17th, 2013



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