Nov 17, 2014

Gruber Comments Show Government Councils Need Transparency

When Jonathan Gruber, an architect of Obamacare, said the failed health care law was passed because of the “stupidity of the American voter” and that “lack of transparency is a huge political advantage,” he was revealing more than just how Obamacare is based on deception. He was also demonstrating just how those in Washington use big government and complicated processes to game the system in favor of imposing what they want and what they assume the American people want.

It’s inherently difficult, if not impossible, for government this big to be transparent and accountable. But it’s made worse when that lack of transparency is used at the expense of the American people. One particular part of our vast federal bureaucracy in desperate need of reform is the EPA’s Science Advisory Board (SAB). Though the board is supposed to provide balanced and impartial advice to the EPA from a variety of sources, in reality the SAB takes virtually no public comments, excludes state and private sector expertise, and has been biased in favor of particular policies when it should only be conducting neutral science. According to the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, 34 of the 58 members of the SAB have even directly received grants from the EPA.

The EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act strengthens public participation and requires peer review in the SAB and its sub-panels all while expanding transparency. This bill, sponsored by Representative Chris Stewart (UT-02), is a necessary reform for creating good government by making sure the SAB doesn’t silence dissent and make decisions behind closed doors. Jonathan Gruber’s revelations underscore just how important such transparency is.

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