NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Business Lobby Derails Federalism Bill

September 20, 1999

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the nation's largest business lobbying group, has joined with environmentalists, public interest groups and federal agencies to throw off track a House bill that would have strengthened the prerogatives of state and local governments.

The Federalism Act of 1999 aimed at curbing the power of Congress and federal agencies to preempt state laws and regulations. Its sponsor, Rep. David M. McIntosh (R-Ind.), has abandoned his efforts to push the bill.

  • The chamber complained that giving states broader authority to challenge federal laws and regulations would create a patchwork of state laws and lawsuits.
  • Businesses, for example, want uniform product-labeling requirements or mortgage requirements.
  • They also contend plaintiffs in lawsuits could claim companies are negligent in the design of a product if they only meet federal standards -- rather than a more stringent state standard.

McIntosh says he still hopes the chamber and interests representing state and local governments can reconcile their differences and agree on legislation that could advance next year.

Source: Cindy Skrzyski, "The Chamber Reached a Sticking Point," Washington Post, September 17, 1999.


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