HHS Withdraws Trump-Era ‘Sunset Rule’

HHS Withdraws Trump-Era ‘Sunset Rule’ 

Decision Comes a Year After Coalition Lawsuit Challenged Rule That Would Have Eliminated 18k+ Critical Health and Safety Regulations 

Washington, D.C. — Today, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) completely withdrew the Trump-era ‘Sunset Rule,’ which would have set a ticking time bomb on thousands of health and food safety regulations issued by HHS and its sub-agencies. In March of 2021, the County of Santa Clara, the California Tribal Families Coalition (CTFC), the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP), the American Lung Association, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) filed suit over the rule, which was proposed and finalized in the Trump administration’s lame duck period. Despite the rule’s sweeping effects, it was adopted with scarce opportunity for the public to voice concerns and no attempt to consult with those communities most impacted. It was also illegal and contrary to many HHS statutory obligations. 

The suit prompted the Biden administration to stay the effective date of the rule, and in October of 2021 HHS announced its proposal to repeal or withdraw the rule. 

 In response to the withdrawal of the ‘Sunset Rule’ the Plaintiffs in County of Santa Clara et al. v. HHS and their counsel issued the following joint statement: 

“We are pleased at the news that the Biden administration has withdrawn the unlawful ‘Sunset Rule’ in its entirety. The ‘Sunset Rule’ was an ill-considered and sweeping effort to deregulate healthcare and food safety, axe thousands of important public health protections, and tie the  Department of Health and Human Services’ hands at the worst possible time – all without going through any of the legal requirements. This is a victory not only for our nation’s public health and healthcare sector but also for the millions of Americans, including more than 36 million children, who would have been hurt by the resulting regulatory chaos, uncertainty, and elimination of key protections.”   

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Democracy Forward Foundation (“Democracy Forward”) is a nonprofit legal organization founded in 2017 that litigates cases involving government action on behalf of organizations, individuals, and municipalities. The organization has taken 650 legal actions and achieved victories supporting democracy and improving the lives and wellbeing of people and communities. Democracy Forward Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. 

The National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP) is the nation’s only professional association for pediatric-focused advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) dedicated to improving the quality of health care for infants, children, adolescents and young adults. Representing more than 8,000 health care practitioners with 18 specialty practice interest groups and 53 chapters, NAPNAP has been advocating for children’s health since 1973 and was the first APRN society in the U.S. Our mission is to empower pediatric-focused advanced practice registered nurses and key partners to optimize child and family health. 

The County of Santa Clara government serves a diverse, multi-cultural population of 1.9 million residents, more populous than 14 states. The County provides essential services to its residents, including public health protection, environmental stewardship, medical services through the County of Santa Clara Health System, child and adult protection services, homelessness prevention and solutions, roads, park services, libraries, emergency response to disasters, protection of minority communities and those under threat, access to a fair criminal justice system, and many other public benefits. The Office of the County Counsel serves as legal counsel to the County of Santa Clara and is responsible for all civil litigation involving the County and its officers. Through its Social Justice and Impact Litigation Section, the Office litigates high-impact cases, drafts innovative local ordinances, and develops policies and programs to advance social and economic justice. For more information, visit counsel.sccgov.org. 

California Tribal Families Coalition is comprised of more than 45 tribes and tribal organizations from across the state.  The Coalition’s mission is to promote and protect the health, safety and welfare of tribal children and families, which are inherent tribal governmental functions and are at the core of tribal sovereignty and tribal governance. 

The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease through education, advocacy and research. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to champion clean air for all; to improve the quality of life for those with lung disease and their families; and to create a tobacco-free future. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the coveted 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Gold-Level GuideStar Member, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org. 

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) is America’s Food and Health Watchdog, a non-profit consumer education and advocacy organization that has worked since 1971 to improve the public’s health through better nutrition and safer food. CSPI does not accept government or corporate donations and is supported by donations from individuals and foundations and subscribers to its Nutrition Action Healthletter. 

NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world’s natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at www.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.  

June 2, 2022

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