How Trump is Rolling Back Obama’s Legacy — Congressional Review Act Damage

Curator note: Once again, the Washington Post is making it easy for us to know what needs to be re-addressed as soon as Trump is no longer a factor.

May 2017 Update

An Obscure Law Unravels Obama’s Legacy, One Rule at a Time

A SIG MPx assault rifle for sale at CrossRoads Shooting Sports in Johnston, Iowa. Since taking office, President Trump has signed 13 bills erasing regulations, including one on gun rights.
Max Whittaker for The New York Times

WASHINGTON — Just days after the November election, top aides to Donald J. Trump huddled with congressional staff members in Speaker Paul D. Ryan’s suite of offices at the Capitol. The objective: not to get things done, but to undo them — quickly.

For about three months after Inauguration Day, Mr. Trump would have the power to wipe away some of his predecessor’s most significant regulations with simple-majority votes from his allies in Congress.

But the clock was ticking.

An obscure law known as the Congressional Review Act gives lawmakers 60 legislative days to overturn major new regulations issued by federal agencies. After that window closes, sometime in early May, the process gets much more difficult: Executive orders by the president can take years to unwind regulations — well beyond the important 100-day yardstick for new administrations.

So in weekly meetings leading up to Jan. 20, the Trump aides and lawmakers worked from a shared Excel spreadsheet to develop a list of possible targets: rules enacted late in Barack Obama’s presidency that they viewed as a vast regulatory overreach that was stifling economic growth.

The result was a historic reversal of government rules in record time. Mr. Trump has used the review act as a regulatory wrecking ball, signing 13 bills that erased rules on the environment, labor, financial protections, internet privacy, abortion, education and gun rights. In the law’s 21-year history, it had been used successfully only once before, when President George W. Bush reversed a Clinton-era ergonomics rule.

The effort has surpassed its architects’ most ambitious hopes. Andrew Bremberg, the president’s domestic policy chief, said he had thought Congress might be able to use the act to pass five or six bills reversing Mr. Obama’s regulations. During the transition effort, no one contemplated more than a dozen, Mr. Bremberg said.

“It is a strong and very potent and powerful tool,” he said.

But critics say Mr. Trump’s aggressive use of the Congressional Review Act amounts to a blunt and thoughtless assault on rules that would have increased people’s safety, secured their personal information, protected federal lands and improved education.

Read full article

A first installment as of Spring 2017 is below.

Keeping Score — Tracking What Will Need To Be Re-instated When Trump is Gone

 

During President Trump’s first year in office, Congress and his administration plan to review, revoke and overwrite key parts of his predecessor’s domestic legacy.

Many of Donald Trump’s campaign promises involved repealing President Barack Obama-era rules and regulations. Here’s how the president is working with Congress and the executive branch to undo his predecessor’s legacy in seven key policy areas. Many of these are a work in progress.

[ What President Obama’s executive actions mean for President Trump]

Congressional Republicans are using one obscure law to overturn rules: The Congressional Review Act. This allows Congress to target recently issued federal regulations via a “joint resolution of disapproval,” which requires the president’s signature to immediately repeal rules. Before Trump took office, the law had been used once successfully since it was enacted in 1996. Obama vetoed other GOP attempts to reverse his rules, and Trump has signed 11 Congressional Review Act bills into law since becoming president.

28 cancellations in the works

35 rules canceled

2 tried and failed

Executive action
Environment

Proposed

The White House is considering an executive order instructing the Interior Department to reverse President Barack Obama’s withdrawal of hundreds of millions of offshore acres from future drilling in December.

Read more: Trump moves to open Atlantic coast to oil drilling for first time in more than 30 years

Regulation
Environment

Proposed

The EPA seeks to postpone oral argument in a case involving an Obama-era standard limiting an air pollutant that forms smog, arguing it needs “adequate time to fully review” the rule.

Read more: EPA hints that it could roll back Obama’s smog rule

Congressional review
Labor and finance

Passed by House on Feb. 15
Passed by Senate on March 30
Next: Goes before Trump

Would eliminate a rule related to how states may design and operate payroll deduction savings programs

Original Labor Department rule: Savings Arrangements Established by Qualified State Political Subdivisions for Non-Governmental Employees

Congressional review
Health care

Passed by House on Feb. 16
Passed by Senate on March 30
Next: Goes before Trump

The measure nullifies an HHS rule instructing states they could not withhold federal family planning funds from clinics that provided qualified care

Original Department of Health and Human Services rule: Compliance with Title X Requirements by Project Recipients in Selecting Subrecipients

Read more: Pence breaks tie to allow states to strip family-planning dollars from abortion providers

Congressional review
Environment

Proposed

Would eliminate a rule regulating haze in Utah

Original EPA rule: [object Object]

Proposed

Would eliminate a rule related to energy conservation

Original Energy Department rule: Energy Conservation Program: Test Procedures for Compressors

Regulation
Education

Proposed

The Education Department will delay the implementation of the gainful employment rule, which would have withheld federal student aid from vocational programs whose graduates consistently end up with more debt than they can repay

Read more: Trump administration’s delay of rule to regulate career-training programs sparks protest

Congressional review
Government reform

Proposed

Would eliminate a rule related to transportation and regional planning for cities and states

Original Department of Transportation rule: Metropolitan Planning Organization Coordination and Planning Area Reform

Congressional review
Environment

Proposed

Would eliminate a rule about water management in the Southeast

Original Army Corps of Engineers rule: Master Water Control Manual Update Environmental Impact Statement for the Apalachicola – Chattahoochee – Flint River Basin

Congressional review
Environment

Proposed

Would eliminate a rule related to the measurement of oil

Original Bureau of Land Management rule: Onshore Oil and Gas Operations; Federal and Indian Oil and Gas Leases; Measurement of Oil

Congressional review
Labor and finance

Passed by House on Feb. 15
Next: Goes before Senate
Then: Goes before Trump

Would overturn Labor Department rule giving state and local governments greater power to offer retirement accounts to private-sector workers

Original Labor Department rule: Savings Arrangements Established by States for Non-Governmental Employees

Read more: In a race to the finish, Obama administration presses ahead with ambitious rules

Congressional review
Environment

Proposed

Would eliminate a rule related to the value of coal

Original Interior Department rule: Consolidated Federal Oil & Gas and Federal & Indian Coal Valuation Reform

Congressional review
Environment

Proposed

Would eliminate a rule related to the measurement of natural gas

Original Bureau of Land Management rule: Onshore Oil and Gas Operations; Federal and Indian Oil and Gas Leases; Measurement of Gas

Congressional review
Environment

Proposed

Would eliminate a rule related to air pollution

Original Environmental Protection Agency rule: Final Cross-State Air Pollution Rule Update

Congressional review
Environment

Proposed

Would eliminate a rule that was designed to reduce pollution from power plants in the eastern half of the U.S.

Original EPA rule: [object Object]

Congressional review
Labor and finance

Proposed

Would eliminate a rule related to prepaid accounts

Original Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection rule: Prepaid Accounts Under the Electronic Fund Transfer Act and the Truth In Lending Act

Congressional review
Environment

Passed by House on Feb. 3
Next: Goes before Senate
Then: Goes before Trump

Would eliminate a BLM rule aimed at curbing the fugitive emissions of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas linked to climate change, during the course of oil and gas operations on federal land

Original Bureau of Land Management rule: Waste Prevention, Production Subject to Royalties, and Resource Conservation

Read more: House Republicans just voted to repeal another environmental rule

Congressional review
Environment

Proposed

Would eliminate a rule related to endangered wildlife

Original Fish and Wildlife Service rule: Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Endangered Species Act Compensatory Mitigation Policy

Congressional review
Environment

Proposed

Would eliminate a rule related to the Clean Air Act

Original Environmental Protection Agency rule: Accidental Release Prevention Requirements: Risk Management Programs under the Clean Air Act

Congressional review
Environment

Proposed

Would eliminate a rule related to oil and gas leases

Original Bureau of Land Management rule: Onshore Oil and Gas Operations; Federal and Indian Oil and Gas Leases; Site Security

Congressional review
Environment

Proposed

Would eliminate a rule relating to civil penalty regulations

Original Interior Department rule: Amendments to Civil Penalty Regulations

Congressional review
Environment

Proposed

Would eliminate a rule on mitigation policy

Original Fish and Wildlife Service rule: Mitigation Policy

Congressional review
Labor and finance

Proposed

Would eliminate a rule on treatment of certain interests in corporations as stock or indebtedness

Original Treasury Department and IRS rule: Treatment of Certain Interests in Corporations as Stock or Indebtedness

Congressional review
Environment

Proposed

Would eliminate a rule relating to requirements for drilling in the Arctic.

Original Interior Department rule: Oil and Gas and Sulfur Operations on the Continental Shelf—Requirements for Exploratory Drilling on the Arctic Outer Continental Shelf

Congressional review
Environment

Proposed

Would eliminate a rule on the management of oil and gas rights

Original Fish and Wildlife Service rule: Management of Non-Federal Oil and Gas Rights

Congressional review
Environment

Proposed

Would eliminate a rule on the management of oil and gas rights within National Park Service lands

Original National Park Service rule: General Provisions and Non-Federal Oil and Gas Rights

Regulation
Environment

Proposed

The Interior Department plans to withdraw and rewrite a 2015 rule aimed at limiting hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” on public lands

Read more: Interior Department to withdraw Obama-era fracking rule, filings reveal

Executive action
Environment

Proposed

Instructs agencies to revamp a water protection rule to reduce federal control of wetlands, rivers and streams

Read more: Trump to roll back Obama’s climate, water rules through executive action

Regulation
Civil rights

Issued April 10

Attorney General Jeff Sessions will end a Justice Department partnership with independent scientists to raise forensic science standards and has suspended an expanded review of FBI testimony across several techniques that have come under question

Read more: Sessions orders Justice Dept. to end forensic science commission, suspend review policy

Congressional review
Labor and finance

Passed by House on March 28
Passed by Senate on March 23
Signed by Trump on April 3

Repeals a set of rules aimed at protecting consumers’ online data from their own Internet providers

Original Federal Communications Commission rule: Protecting the Privacy of Customers of Broadband and Other Telecommunications Services

Read more: The House just voted to wipe away the FCC’s landmark Internet privacy protections

Congressional review
Environment

Passed by House on Feb. 16
Passed by Senate on March 21
Signed by Trump on April 3

This measure would lift a ban on the use of certain predator control tactics on federal wildlife refuges that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service imposed in August, over the objections of the Alaska Board of Game

Original Interior Department rule: Non-Subsistence Take of Wildlife, and Public Participation and Closure Procedures, on National Wildlife Refuges in Alaska

Read more: Senate votes to lift limits on hunting Alaska grizzlies and wolves on federal land

Regulation
Environment

Issued April 3

The Interior Department informed coal, oil and gas companies they do not need to comply with a new federal accounting system that would have compelled them to pay millions of dollars in additional royalties.

Read more: Coal, oil and gas companies to pay less in royalties after Interior decision

Regulation
Civil rights

Issued April 3

Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered Justice Department officials to review reform agreements with troubled police forces nationwide

Read more: Sessions orders Justice Department to review all police reform agreements

Congressional review
Labor and finance

Passed by House on March 1
Passed by Senate on March 22
Signed by Trump on April 3

Would eliminate worker safety regulations that aimed to track and reduce workplace injuries and deaths

Original Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Labor rule: Clarification of Employer’s Continuing Obligation To Make and Maintain an Accurate Record of Each Recordable Injury and Illness

Read more: Trump kills second of two Obama-era worker-safety rules

Congressional review
Labor and finance

Passed by House on Feb. 15
Passed by Senate on March 14
Signed by Trump on March 31

Would overturn a Labor Department rule limiting how many unemployment applicants states could subject to drug testing

Original Labor Department rule: Federal-State Unemployment Compensation Program; Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 Provision on Establishing Appropriate Occupations for Drug Testing of Unemployment Compensation Applicants

Regulation
Environment

Issued March 29

The new head of the Environmental Protection Agency refused to ban a commonly used pesticide that the Obama administration had sought to outlaw based on mounting concerns about its risks to human health

Read more: Trump EPA declines to ban pesticide that Obama had proposed outlawing

Regulation
Education

Issued March 29

The Education Department has decided to nix an Obama-era grant program meant to help local districts devise ways to boost socioeconomic diversity within their schools

Read more: Trump’s Education Department nixes Obama-era grant program for school diversity

Executive action
Environment

Signed March 28

Instructs the Environmental Protection Agency to revisit regulation limiting greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and Bureau of Land Management to consider coal leases on federal land. Also calls for revisiting drilling restrictions on National Park Service and National Wildlife Refuge lands

Read more: Trump moves decisively to wipe out Obama’s climate-change record

Congressional review
Labor and finance

Passed by House on Feb. 2
Passed by Senate on March 6
Signed by Trump on March 27

Overturned a Labor Department rule requiring firms seeking federal contractors of $500,000 or more to disclose and correct any serious labor law violations committed in the last three years

Original Defense Department, General Services Administration and NASA rule: Federal Acquisition Regulation; Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces

Read more: Trump signs bill that kills Obama-era Worker Safety Rule

Congressional review
Environment

Passed by House on Feb. 7
Passed by Senate on March 7
Signed by Trump on March 27

Abolishes a land management rule known as Planning 2.0, which aimed to shorten and streamline the process for making federal land use decisions

Original Bureau of Land Management rule: Resource Management Planning

Read more: The Senate just voted to overturn another environmental rule — sending it to Trump’s desk

Congressional review
Education

Passed by House on Feb. 7
Passed by Senate on March 9
Signed by Trump on March 27

Eliminates federal standards established under President Obama that lay out which schools are serving students well and which are still struggling to do so

Original Education Department rule: Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as Amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act-Accountability and State Plans

Read more: Trump signs bills overturning Obama-era education regulations

Congressional review
Education

Passed by House on Feb. 7
Passed by Senate on March 8
Signed by Trump on March 27

Abolishes an Obama-era requirement that every state needs to issue ratings for teacher-prep courses within its borders

Original Education Department rule: Teacher Preparation Issues

Read more: Trump signs bills overturning Obama-era education regulations

Regulation
Environment

Issued March 24

The State Department has granted a permit for construction of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, according to the company behind the project

Read more: Trump administration grants approval for Keystone XL pipeline

Regulation
Environment

Issued March 15

The EPA will reconsider strict fuel-efficiency standards, reversing a deal first struck with automakers in 2009

Read more: Trump says he will review Obama administration fuel efficiency standards

Executive action
Immigration

Signed March 6

A revised executive order temporarily bans travelers from six majority-Muslim nations and suspends the nation’s refugee program for 120 days. Was blocked in court

Read more: Revised executive order bans travelers from six Muslim-majority countries from getting new visas

Regulation
Environment

Issued March 2

Interior secretary reverses policy to ban lead shot and fishing tackle at National Wildlife Refuges

Read more: The new interior secretary just rode into work on a horse

Congressional review
Health care

Passed by House on Feb. 2
Passed by Senate on Feb. 15
Signed by Trump on Feb. 28

Overturned rule prohibiting people with mental health problems from buying guns

Original Social Security Administration rule: Implementation of the NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007

Read more: Hill Republicans move to scrap Obama-era regulations

Regulation
Civil rights

Issued Feb. 27

The Justice Department dropped its long-standing position that Texas intended to discriminate when it passed a strict voter-ID law

Read more: Justice Department changes its position in high-profile Texas voter-ID case

Executive action
Government reform

Signed Feb. 24

Establishes a task force to eliminate “job killing regulations.” Eliminating a federal rule entails a detailed process in which agencies must subject such proposals to public comment. It typically takes at least a year and a half to wipe a rule off the books.

Read more: Trump establishes task forces to eliminate ‘job killing regulations’

Regulation
Civil rights

Issued Feb. 23

The Justice Department will once again use private prisons to house federal inmates, reversing an Obama-era directive to stop using the facilities

Read more: Justice Department will again use private prisons

Regulation
Civil rights

Issued Feb. 22

Guidance says states can decide whether to accommodate transgender students

Read more: Trump administration rolls back protections for transgender students

Regulation
Immigration

Issued Feb. 21

DHS issues guidance to ramp up deportation of illegal immigrants

Read more: Trump administration issues new immigration enforcement policies, says goal is not ‘mass deportations’

Congressional review
Environment

Passed by House on Feb. 1
Passed by Senate on Feb. 2
Signed by Trump on Feb. 16

The bill overturns a stream protection rule from the Department of the Interior that would have restricted what mountaintop mining firms could dump into nearby waterways

Original Interior Department rule: Stream Protection Rule

Read more: GOP works to reverse Obama-era rules on family planning, predator hunting in refuges

Congressional review
Labor and finance

Passed by House on Feb. 1
Passed by Senate on Feb. 3
Signed by Trump on Feb. 14

Rule would have required oil and gas companies to report payments to the United States and foreign governments

Original Securities and Exchange Commission rule: Disclosure of Payments by Resource Extraction Issuers

Read more: Hill Republicans move to scrap Obama-era regulations

Regulation
Environment

Issued Feb. 7

The deputy secretary of the Army will grant the final permit needed to complete the Dakota Access Pipeline

Read more: Trump administration to approve final permit for Dakota Access pipeline

Executive action
Labor and finance

Signed Feb. 3

Instructed Treasury to revise Dodd-Frank regulations

Read more: Trump signs order to begin rolling back Wall Street regulations

Executive action
Labor and finance

Signed Feb. 3

Asked the Labor Department to review a contentious rule meant to protect retirement savers from receiving poor investment advice

Read more: Trump calls for review of long-awaited rule meant to protect retirement savers

Executive action
Government reform

Signed Jan. 30

The order is aimed at cutting regulations on businesses, saying that agencies should eliminate at least two regulations for each new one.

Read more: Trump wants to scrap two regulations for each new one adopted

Executive action
Environment

Signed Jan. 24

Instructs the Army and State Department to expedite the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines

Read more: Trump seeks to revive Dakota Access, Keystone XL oil pipelines

Executive action
Health care

Signed Jan. 23

Reinstates “Mexico City” policy for international groups that perform or discuss abortions

Read more: Trump reverses abortion-related U.S. policy, bans funding to international health groups

Executive action
Labor and finance

Signed Jan. 23

Withdraws the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership

Read more: President Trump signs order to withdraw from Trans-Pacific Partnership

Executive action
Health care

Signed Jan. 20

Instructs agencies to undo the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate

Read more: Trump signs executive order that could effectively gut Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate

Executive action
Labor and finance

Signed Jan. 20

Reversed a quarter-point decrease in the Federal Housing Administration mortgage insurance premium, which would have made mortgages more affordable

Read more: Trump takes away FHA mortgage insurance premium cut not long after being sworn into office

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Common Ground
We don’t need to search any further for common ground in our country. We have it.
We all want the same things – a safe, prosperous, free, democratic nation with opportunity for all. At the same time, we will all be harmed if our democracy, our free press, our Constitution and our core American values are threatened. We will all certainly be harmed if reckless behavior triggers any number of potential armed conflicts.

None of us know how this will all play out so let's make a deal. Let’s get up to speed on the issues, establish some facts, take action and watch what happens together . . .