Legislation & Lobbying
Posted Feb 13, 2017 02:24 pm CST
President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans have undertaken a dramatic rollback of governmental regulations that could be a sign of things to come.
According to a Monday article in the Washington Post, both Trump and congressional Republicans have utilized a number of executive and legislative maneuvers to undo or delay dozens of regulations from President Barack Obama’s administration. Using the Congressional Review Act of 1996, which allows Congress to void any federal regulation within 60 days of enactment, House Republicans have stopped dozens of last-minute Obama administration regulations from going into effect, including an EPA rule concerning how dentists may dispose of mercury fillings, two Department of Education rules dealing with accountability and teacher training, and a rule restricting mentally disabled people from buying guns. According to the Post, the rarely used statute has already been invoked more time in the first 10 days of the Trump administration than during any previous session of Congress since its enactment in 1996.
The moves to reverse the regulations would still have to be approved by the Senate and then signed into law by the president. One of Trump’s core campaign themes was over-regulation and how federal red tape is hurting businesses. On Jan. 30, Trump signed an executive order requiring all agencies to eliminate (or significantly reduce the impact of) two regulations for every new regulation it issues. According to the Post, within days of taking office, Trump withdrew 24 major rules that had already been sent to the Federal Register for publication and delayed the effective dates of nearly 250 other rules, including 30 EPA rules. The White House has also imposed a 60-day freeze on new regulations; however some have been delayed for even longer.
“Over-regulation has stemmed economic growth and job creation,” White House press secretary Sean Spicer recently said during a press briefing.
According to the Post, business groups have been pleased with the rollback and are looking forward to more of the same over the next few years. “It’s clear as can be that they intend to reduce the level of regulation,” said James Gattuso, a senior fellow in regulatory policy at the conservative Heritage Foundation, to the Post. Gattuso also noted that, if successful, Trump would be the first president since Ronald Reagan to drastically reduce the amount of governmental regulations.
On the other hand, liberal interest groups, as well as conservation and environmental groups, are alarmed and are looking at pursuing judicial remedies. The National Resources Defense Council, Public Citizen and the Communications Workers of America have already filed suit against Trump’s two-for-one regulations executive order. “President Trump’s order would deny Americans the basic protections they rightly expect,” NRDC President Rhea Suh said in a press release. “New efforts to stop pollution don’t automatically make old ones unnecessary. When you make policy by tweet, it yields irrational rules.This order imposes a false choice between clean air, clean water, safe food and other environmental safeguards.”
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