At least ten New Hampshire residents have contracted fungal meningitis linked to contaminated steroid injections produced by a Massachusetts compounding pharmacy. The outbreak has prompted health advocates to call on Congress to grant the FDA the same authority to regulate the safety and efficacy of drugs produced by compounding pharmacies that they currently have over drug manufacturers.
Not on my watch, says New Hampshire Congressman Frank Guinta. Think Progress reports that during last week’s debate with Carol Shea-Porter, Guinta rejected the suggestion that the outbreak highlighted the need for FDA regulation of the pharmacies.
Guinta: If your question is do you need more regulation, I don’t think you need more. What you need is the existing regulatory agencies to actually do their jobs properly. We know what the basic rules are, what the basic laws are. They need to be utilized in such a way where the bad actors are identified.
We should not have been surprised that Guinta opposes FDA regulation. After all, when he first ran for Congress, he made his disdain for the FDA very clear:
Guinta: Don’t you want the Food and Drug Administration inspecting every single piece of food you eat? My answer is no. I can go buy fresh farm food from a New Hampshire farmer. I don’t need the FDA to make that transaction!
Last year, I wrote of my surprise at seeing that Congressman Frank Guinta had sponsored a bill ”to increase the effectiveness of Federal oversight of motor carriers.”
After all, this was the same man who had trumpeted, “Overzealous federal regulation is choking small business owners in New Hampshire and all over America.”
But then I learned that Guinta had worked closely with three powerful trucking lobbies — Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), the Transportation Intermediaries Association (TIA), and the American Trucking Associations (ATA) — in writing up the legislation; and that after introducing the bill, he was rewarded with $1,000 campaign contributions from the three groups.
The next I heard about the bill was when I read Guinta proudly announcing that the bill’s language had been included in the 2-Year Surface Transportation Bill which became law earlier this month.
And, like clockwork, Guinta was once again rewarded with campaign contributions from the Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association PAC ($2500, $4500 total), the Transportation Intermediaries Association PAC ($1000, $2000 total) and the Trucking PAC of the American Trucking Associations, Inc. ($1000, $2000 total).
American Progress policy analyst Julie Margetta Morgan explains U.S. Education Department regulations that define the term “credit hour” for colleges and universities.
One may be surprised to learn that although most colleges define their degrees by the number of credits accumulated, there’s no common definition for what a credit is. Some for-profit colleges have exploited this ambiguity by inflating their credits to the point where one school offered nine college credits for a five-week course.
Without the regulations, she says, low-quality educational institutions can qualify for federal financial aid and “students will end up wasting both their own money and the federal government’s when they pursue worthless credentials.”
New Hampshire Congressman Frank Guinta refers to the unscrupulous practices as “innovative methods for awarding credit.” (!) The rules preventing low-quality educational institutions from fleecing students and the government, he says, are an “unprecedented and unnecessary federal intrusion into post-secondary affairs.”
Guinta proudly co-sponsored H.R. 2117, which would repeal the regulations and prohibit the Education Department from defining “credit hour” in the future. “This bill,” says Guinta, “removes the federal government from yet another place where it doesn’t belong.”
Earlier this year, 1st District Congressman Frank Guinta sponsored a bill to regulate freight brokers and to “increase the effectiveness of Federal oversight of motor carriers.”
With the backing of three powerful trucking lobbies, the “Fighting Fraud in Transportation Act 2011, FITT, (H.R. 2357),” introduced last week by Reps. Russ Carnahan (D-MO) and Frank Guinta (R-NH), would increase bond amounts and strengthen requirements before anyone can begin brokering freight.
Guinta and Carnahan worked closely with OOIDA, the Transportation Intermediaries Association, and the American Trucking Associations in writing up the legislation.
Now it seemed out of character for Guinta to be taking the lead on regulating the trucking industry. After all, this is a man who said the ”central focus of the challenges that we face in this 112th Congress” is ending the “overregulation that is strangling our small businesses.” This is a man who disdains federal regulation so much that he said we don’t even need the FDA to regulate food safety.
But then I reviewed Guinta’s second quarter campaign finance report and I see $1000 contributions from, you guessed it, the Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association PAC (OOIDA PAC), the Transportation Intermediaries Association PAC (TIA PAC), and the Trucking PAC of the American Trucking Associations, Inc. (Truck PAC).