Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Trump Erasing Obama Legacy

Click here for an article at Daily Kos by Mark Sumner, entitled "Trump and Congress are tearing up Obama's legacy week by week using the Congressional Review Act."

And click here for an article on the same subject, entitled "Trump's Secret Weapon Against Obama's Legacy" by Michael Grunwald at Politico.

Trump is using the Congressional Review Act to reverse actions taken by President Obama. This Act, which enables a president to quickly roll back regulations imposed late in his predecessor's term, was only ever used once before, by W., to roll back an ergonomics rule at the Department of Labor.
Under the CRA, Republicans have until early May to eliminate Obama rules finalized after last June—and they need only simple majorities in both houses of Congress, since CRA bills can’t be filibustered.
Trump has used the CRA 11 times so far, with more planned. Here are the 11 things Trump's use of the CRA has "accomplished":

1.) They’ve crushed a rule that forced energy companies to reveal when they were bribing foreign governments. Trump’s very first CRA bill was an anti-anti-corruption measure, blocking an Obama effort to force oil companies to disclose payments to foreign governments; Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had personally lobbied against the rule as CEO of ExxonMobil, telling lawmakers that undisclosed payments were vital to Exxon’s business in Russia.
2.) They made it easier for coal companies to dump waste into streams and rivers and conduct mountaintop removal mining.
3.) They removed a rule that said anyone who had been declared mentally incapable of managing their own assets should not be able to buy a gun.
4.) They removed requirements that defense contractors obey labor laws.
5.) They limited the ability of the government to restrict the use of federal lands.
6.) The killed accountability on state education targets for elementary and secondary schools.
7.) While they were at it, they killed rules on teacher training.
8.) They made it easier for states to drug test people before they could get unemployment pay.
9.) They made it legal to shoot wolves and hibernating bears in National Wildlife Refuges (yeah, they really did).
10.) They weakened rules that employers have to keep track of employee injuries and illness.
11.) They made it legal for communications companies to sell your Internet history without your permission.

According to the Politico story, Trump signed three bills into law on February 28. Two of them were feel-good pieces of fluff about empowering women, and he signed those with photo ops and a good deal of fanfare. The third bill, though, was signed quietly and without publicity. That's because it was very popular with the NRA, but not so much with the general public. It rolled back an Obama regulation making it difficult for people who are severely mentally ill to purchase firearms (No. 3 above).

But there's more to come.
Those are just the things that they’ve already signed. CRA bills currently in the works include a fresh attempt to hurt Planned Parenthood, relaxing rules around oil and gas production, and making it harder for employees to seek representation for labor issues.

There's a good chance the CRA bills rolling back Obama's regulations will be Trump's only legislative "achievements" in his first 100 days. According to the Politico article:
His most notable non-CRA legislative achievement last week was naming a clinic in Pago Pago, American Samoa, after Faleomavaega Eni Fa’aua’a Hunkin.
The clock runs out on Trump's use of the CRA around May 9.


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