Tuesday, February 14, 2017

With Trump in the limelight, Congress has been quietly working to undo Obama-era regulations

The L.A. Times reports:
While President Trump’s daily activities continue to consume much of the nation’s attention, Congress has quietly launched a legislating spree at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue.

The House and Senate are churning out a steady stream of bills — not the big-ticket items Trump promised on the campaign trail, but a hand-picked collection of discrete measures aimed at dismantling the regulatory agenda that President Obama put in place during his waning days in office.

Many of the proposals come from a wish list compiled by the powerful Koch brothers’ network, designed to loosen federal rules on the energy industry, Wall Street and other businesses aligned to the industrialists.

Other groups have also weighed in. A top priority of the National Rifle Assn., for example, would halt a rule requiring background checks for gun buyers who have a mental health condition for which they receive Social Security disability benefits. It was initially drafted in the aftermath of the 2007 Virginia Tech mass shooting and finalized late last year.

Because Republicans now control Congress and the White House, the measures have a good chance of becoming law. Congress is using special rules that require just a simple majority vote for fast-track passage.

Already, two measures have cleared both chambers on largely party-line votes. One rolls back mountaintop coal mining regulations that would have updated 30-year-old rules on downstream pollution. Another halts a previous bipartisan effort that sought to stem overseas corruption by requiring U.S. companies to disclose payments to foreign governments.

More House-passed bills are likely to clear the Senate this week, and Trump is expected to soon have his first bill signing at the White House.
The struggle against regulation.