Trump’s regulatory freeze in full force

Trump’s regulatory freeze in full force 

Trump's regulatory freeze in full force
© Getty

President Trump’s regulatory freeze is in full effect.

Federal agencies are following orders to delay the rules that Obama administration officials finalized before leaving office, but have not yet taken effect.

This week alone, the Department of Health and Human Services delayed two rules: one to protect the privacy of alcohol and drug abusers who seek treatment, and a second to help the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s protect against the introduction, transmission and spread of communicable diseases like Ebola and the Zika virus.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission delayed a rule it finalized two days before the inauguration requiring federal agencies to enact hiring policies that favor individuals with disabilities.

Last week, the Federal Railroad Administration delayed new safety rules for commuter trains, while the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) delayed news standards for how animals should be treated if the farmer wishes to sell the meat as certified organic.

Trump’s regulatory freeze began with a government-wide memo that Reince Priebus, his chief of staff, sent on Jan. 20. The memo advised agency heads to delay rules that had already been published for at least 60 days, pushing most rules back until March 21.

The effect of Trump’s orders has been noticeable in the Federal Register, the daily docket where new and proposed regulations from government agencies are published.

Before Trump took office, the register would often include dozens of regulations at various stages of completion.

Now the docket is short and mostly includes notices about public meetings.

Though Priebus’s memo told agencies not to issue any new rules, the order did not apply to every agency.

Sophie Miller, a senior policy analyst at George Washington University’s Regulatory Studies Center, noted that agencies independent of the White House — like the Federal Communications Commission — are still churning out rules.

“Executive orders are not thought to apply to independent agencies,” she said.

Final rules from agencies under Trump’s purview, however, still face the threat of being overturned under the Congressional Review Act, which gives lawmakers 60 legislative days to repeal a regulation after it’s finalized.

The House has already passed over a dozen resolutions to repeal rules; three have made it through the Senate and two have been signed by the president.

Going forward, the Trump administration could ultimately decide to make changes to the rules that have been delayed, but to do so, the agency would have to go through the rulemaking process all over again, Miller said.

While a regulatory freeze is common for new administrations, public health and safety advocates fear the Trump administration is gearing up for a broader attack on the rulemaking process.

“It’s part of a pattern of taking on the rulemaking process in any way they can,” said Lisa Gilbert, director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch Division.

Public Citizen is one of three groups suing to block Trump’s so-called 1-in-2 out rule. That executive order, signed Jan. 30, requires agencies to revoke two regulations for every new rule they want to issue.

Gilbert pointed to the Securities and Exchange Commission’s decision earlier this month to take a fresh look at its CEO pay ratio disclosure rule as proof the administration is using every avenue to walk back regulations.

The controversial mandate, finalized in August of 2015 but starting this year, requires companies to publicly disclose how much more money CEOs make than their employees. Democrats required that rule in the Dodd-Frank financial reform law in an attempt to shed light on income inequality.

In a statement, SEC Acting Chair Michael Piwowar said some companies “have begun to encounter unanticipated compliance difficulties that may hinder them in meeting the reporting deadline.”

Republicans and businesses hotly contested the rule, arguing that it was too costly and forced companies to disclose information that’s useless to investors.

Piwowar is now giving the public 45 days to submit comments on the rule to better understand the difficulties companies are having.

“To see it reopened yet again for no reason is very troubling,” Gilbert said



Trump plans executive orders aimed at shaking up EPA, climate change policy, reports say

Trump plans executive orders aimed at shaking up EPA, climate change policy, reports say

Tom DiChristopher CNBC February 16, 2017
 President Donald Trump plans to introduce executive actions aimed at scaling back Obama-era climate change initiatives and shaking up the Environmental Protection Agency, reports say.

The president intends to sign the actions during a visit to the EPA headquarters for Scott Pruitt’s swearing in as head of the agency, policy newsletter Inside EPA reported Tuesday, citing an administration source. The timing of the event has not been determined because the full Senate has not yet confirmed Pruitt.

The Hill reported on the Inside EPA report on Wednesday. The White House did not return CNBC’s request for comment.

Continue reading “Trump plans executive orders aimed at shaking up EPA, climate change policy, reports say”

GOP Races Against Time to Roll Back Clock on EPA, Other Rules


GOP Races Against Time to Roll Back Clock on EPA, Other Rules

By Dean Scott

Republicans long supportive of rolling back regulations are making good on their threat to quash Obama era rules after the GOP scored a trifecta by winning the White House and holding control of Congress.

The Republican-controlled House is moving at a rapid clip, voting over the last two weeks to nullify a half-dozen rules issued in the waning months of President Barack Obama’s presidency—three of them energy or environment related—under a rarely used 1996 law, the Congressional Review Act.

The Senate also is proving surprisingly agile given its traditionally lumbering pace, voting to nullify two of the regulations the House voted down. Both chambers have passed a resolution that would nullify the Interior Department’s stream buffer rule, the coal mining industry’s top regulatory target. And any resolutions nullifying regulations that pass Congress will almost certainly be signed into law by President Donald Trump.

Continue reading “GOP Races Against Time to Roll Back Clock on EPA, Other Rules”

Legislation Introduced to Abolish the CFPB

Legislation Introduced to Abolish the CFPB

February 15, 2017 

Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) speaking in Congress

Yet another agency is being proposed for elimination per legislation introduced in Congress this week. This time, it’s the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

Legislation was introduced in both the House and the Senate to do away with the agency. The House bill (H.R. 1031) was introduced by Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX) and the Senate bill (S. 370) by Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX).

The average salary for employees at the agency in FY 2016 was $132,964.69 for 1,537 employees according to data from

The lawmakers said that “unaccountable overreach” by the agency that ultimately harms consumers is why it needs to go.

Continue reading “Legislation Introduced to Abolish the CFPB”

GOP looks at ‘modernizing’ environmental laws



The Hill Issuewatch Energy
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GOP looks at ‘modernizing’ environmental laws

By Timothy Cama

Republicans on both sides of Capitol Hill will start looking into “modernizing” key, long-standing environmental laws.

GOP control of both chambers of Congress and the White House gives the party a unique opportunity to make lasting changes to laws like the Clean Air Act and the Endangered Species Act, and to fix what Republicans think are wrong with the standards.

Democrats are likely to fight back at any changes and frame them as attacks at core environmental protections.

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will kick off the process with a Wednesday hearing in the full committee on modernizing the Endangered Species Act.

The law, passed more than four decades ago, is meant to protect animal and plant species that are at risk, along with their habitats.

But the GOP has long complained that, especially under Democratic administrations, the species protections have been abused by activists, and the rights of property owners and other land users have been ignored.

The following day, on Thursday, the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s environment subpanel will look at modernizing the environmental laws under its jurisdiction, including the Clean Air Act and the brownfields provisions of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act.

Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.), the panel’s chairman, said in a statement that the hearing “will provide our members an opportunity to consider practical reforms to promote the expansion of domestic infrastructure and manufacturing.”

Meanwhile, the White House is eager to get President Trump’s remaining Cabinet nominees confirmed. While the Senate has not scheduled their votes, the chamber is likely to vote soon on Environmental Protection Agency nominee Scott Pruitt, Energy Department nominee Rick Perry and Interior Department nominee Ryan Zinke.

Elsewhere on Capitol Hill, two subcommittees of the House Science Committee will meet Wednesday to discuss the Energy Department’s loan and loan guarantee program, a frequent subject of Republican criticism.

The hearing includes witnesses from the Heritage Foundation and the Cato Institute, both free-market think tanks that have slammed the program.

The next day, on Thursday, the full Science Committee will examine the “past, present and future” of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and other Republicans have been critical of NASA’s climate change research and monitoring, a topic that is likely to come up at the hearing.

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House panel to consider ‘modernizing’ Clean Air Act, environmental laws


House panel to consider ‘modernizing’ Clean Air Act, environmental laws

House panel to consider ‘modernizing’ Clean Air Act, environmental laws
© Getty Images

A House committee next week will consider how to “modernize” environmental laws like the Clean Air Act, the panel announced Thursday. 

The House Energy and Commerce Committee’s environmental subpanel will meet on Feb. 16 to consider environmental laws and “challenges and opportunities for expanding infrastructure and promoting development and manufacturing,” the committee announced Thursday.

That means looking at the Clean Air Act, the Brownfields program for environmental cleanup and other laws, according to the announcement. 

Continue reading “House panel to consider ‘modernizing’ Clean Air Act, environmental laws”

Select Senate and House Bills on EPA

Select Senate and House Bills on EPA

H.J.Res. 38: Disapproving the rule submitted by the Department of the Interior known as the Stream Protection Rule.

Sponsor: Rep. Bill Johnson [R-OH6]
Introduced: Jan 30, 2017
Passed House & Senate: Feb 2, 2017
H.R. 806: Ozone Standards Implementation Act of 2017

Sponsor: Rep. Pete Olson [R-TX22]
Introduced: Feb 1, 2017
Referred to Committee: Feb 1, 2017

Continue reading “Select Senate and House Bills on EPA”

What White House deregulation guidance covers and what it doesn’t


What White House deregulation guidance covers and what it doesn’t

February 8, 2017 (Photo Credit: Paul Sancya/AP)
The Trump administration’s Feb. 7 guidance for its “one-in, two-out” regulation executive order detailed how agencies can apply the measure to pursue cost offsets and savings between now and the end of the fiscal year.

Related: Read the guidance

For agency leaders looking to gauge how the executive order will affect their bottom line, here’s a look at what’s covered:

Which regulations are affected?

The guidance applies to “significant regulatory actions” issued between Jan. 20 and Sept. 30 of this year. Significant regulatory actions are defined by a Clinton-era executive order as:

Having an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more or adversely affect in a material way the economy, a sector of the economy, productivity, competition, jobs, the environment, public health or safety, or state, local or tribal governments or communities.

Create a serious inconsistency or otherwise interfere with an action taken or planned by another agency.

Materially alter the budgetary impact of entitlements, grants, user fees, or loan programs or the rights and obligations of recipients thereof.

Raise novel legal or policy issues arising out of legal mandates, the president’s priorities, or the principles set forth in this executive order.

Continue reading “What White House deregulation guidance covers and what it doesn’t”

To repeal the Environmental Protection Agency’s most recent rule for new residential wood heaters.


The text of the bill below is as of Jan 24, 2017 (Introduced).

115th CONGRESS, 1st Session

H. R. 694


January 24, 2017

(for himself, Mr. Jones, Mr. Crawford, Mr. Grothman, Mr. Kelly of Pennsylvania, Mr. Duffy, Mr. Duncan of Tennessee, Mr. Allen, Mr. Huizenga, Mr. O’Halleran, Mr. Mooney of West Virginia, and Mr. Latta) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce

A BILL To repeal the Environmental Protection Agency’s most recent rule for new residential wood heaters. 

1. Short title

This Act may be cited as the Stop EPA Overregulation of Rural Americans Act.

2. Repeal of rule for new residential wood heaters

The final rule entitled Standards of Performance for New Residential Wood Heaters, New Residential Hydronic Heaters and Forced-Air Furnaces published at 80 Fed. Reg. 13672 (March 16, 2015) shall have no force or effect and shall be treated as if such rule had never been issued.

Advocacy Groups Sue Trump Over One In, Two Out Regulatory Policy


Advocacy Groups Sue Trump Over One In, Two Out Regulatory Policy

Several advocacy groups have sued the Trump administration over the president’s executive order to restrict federal agencies’ ability to issue regulations, arguing in a court filing Wednesday Trump has violated his constitutional responsibilities.

Trump’s one in, two out order violated separation of powers requirements and the “take care” clause of the Constitution by unilaterally undermining laws passed by Congress, according to Public Citizen, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Communications Workers of America. The groups filed their suit jointly in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.


Continue reading “Advocacy Groups Sue Trump Over One In, Two Out Regulatory Policy”