Freedom Caucus Releases List of Regulations for Trump to Gut
By Gloria Taylor
Last month, the House Freedom Caucus dropped a new report outlining 228 rules and regulations for the Trump Administration to tackle in its first 100 days. President-elect Trump championed cutting regulations and rescinding executive orders on the campaign trail and now has the opportunity with a unified government to actually follow through. The suggestions outlined by the Freedom Caucus provide the Administration with a legitimate path forward to reduce the size and scope of the federal government across many different policy areas.
Here are some of the highlights:
The report calls for the end to a quintessential example of crony capitalism – the Export-Import Bank. While conservatives have been successful in crippling the bank’s ability to make taxpayer backed loans over $10 million dollars, time and time again the bank’s allies have fought to restore this corporate welfare entity to its full glory. It’s time to end Ex-Im and let the market determine winners and losers.
As it stands, the federal government continues to micromanage the choices of the average American when it comes to energy. The Department of Energy’s burdensome regulations on everything from vending machines to ceiling fans take the approach that the government can determine preferences, innovate, and drive efficiency better than the market. At least 15 regulations, costing billions of dollars that determine efficiency and conservation standards for in home products like air conditioners, ovens, dishwashers, fans, and freezers need to go. The federal government’s track record with energy decisions does not give it moral high ground to push its nanny-state agenda down the throats of the American people.
And let’s not forget about the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA alone has leveled $54 billion in regulations since 2009. Rescinding the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule is a key priority here. This rule unilaterally expands the scope of what bodies of water the EPA can regulate. Under WOTUS, something as small as a puddle now falls under the vague “navigable waters” criteria. Also on the chopping block is the Renewable Fuel Standard Program that requires gasoline to be mixed with billions of gallons of corn-based renewable fuels. The program is the perfect example of the government favoring one industry over another while passing on the costs to consumers. The list also takes aim at host of other regulations controlling pollution standards and greenhouse gas emissions.
The Department of Labor (DOL) has its fair share of excessive rules too. The Fiduciary Rule, described as the “Obamacare of financial planning,” mandates that a financial planner puts client interests ahead of their own, raising costs and restricting high-risk, high-reward investment options. The Trump administration also has the chance to stop the contested Overtime Rule. Currently held up in court, the rule that was supposed to go into effect this December would have required businesses to pay overtime to any salaried employee making less than $47,476, an unprecedented increase from the previous salary threshold.
If anything is clear, the regulatory system is out of control. Excessive rulemaking from departments and agencies costs the economy as much as $2 trillion a year. A new unified government gives Congress the opportunity to rollback onerous regulations lifting the burdens that slow job creation, restrict access to capital, and waste countless hours of productivity.
Congress should pass the Midnight Rules Relief Act (H.R. 21) to expand the scope of the Congressional Review Act to allowing Congress to rescind multiple rules at a time. Congress should also pass the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act (H.R. 26), which would increase accountability for and transparency in the federal regulatory process by requiring Congress to approve all new major regulations costing over $100 million a year. The House is expected to vote on and pass both of these bills this week and the Senate should follow the House’s lead. This report combined with this legislation gives the Administration and Congress a path ahead to peel back the red tape that has been crippling our economy for the past eight years.