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Bills Aimed at Science in Policy

As part of a bid to cut through red tape, two bills that are up for a vote might make it easier for US lawmakers to ignore science, New Scientist reports.

Currently, it notes that when agencies in the US write new regulations, they have to first examine the problem and come up with various ways of addressing it. These solutions also have to meet scientific criteria like peer review, it says. Regulations developed in this way support a number of health and safety protections, New Scientist adds.

One of the two proposed bills, called the Midnight Rules Relief Act of 2017, could overturn six months' worth of legislation with one vote, it says, while the other, the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny would require all regulations that cost more than $100 million to go through a Congressional vote before being enacted. The Midnight Rules Relief Act has passed the House, New Scientist notes.

According to New Scientist this could mean that "years of painstaking research that go into writing regulations can simply be ditched, replaced with simple political whims."