The nerve of some people! From today's Congress Daily:
HILL BRIEFS: CONSUMER GROUPS FEEL SNUBBED BY SUNSTEIN
The nomination of Harvard Law scholar Cass Sunstein to head OMB's Office of Information and Regulatory Affair looks to be moving toward confirmation after he met with farm lobbyists and a senator upset with his views on animal rights, but consumer and environmental groups are peeved they could not get such meetings.
Senate Agriculture ranking member Saxby Chambliss said Wednesday he was lifting a hold he put on Sunstein due to his writings urging stronger rights for animals and suggesting animals be allowed to become plaintiffs in lawsuits.
Chambliss said he felt Sunstein had listened to both his concerns and those of farm groups.
But after CongressDaily reported those meetings, representatives of several consumer groups faulted Sunstein for refusing to meet with them over their concerns about his views on the use of cost-benefit analysis in regulation. OIRA reviews regulations proposed by other federal agencies.
Those groups included Public Citizen, the National Resources Defense Council, the Environmental Defense Fund and Center for Progressive Reform. "It certainly sends a curious signal that he is allowed to meet with agribusiness [representatives] and big business, but not consumer advocates," said one spokesman. "Surely the administration doesn't just not care what consumer advocates want." Representatives of several of the groups said they had a meeting scheduled with Sunstein last winter but showed up to find Sally Katzen, who held the same job under President Clinton and is now at the Podesta Group, in Sunstein's place.
Katzen said Sunstein had been "muzzled" during the confirmation process, sources at the meeting said.
"Like all nominees Cass was not meeting with any outside groups to discuss policy positions of the administration," an administration official said.