Donald Trump will be sworn in to succeed President Barack Obama on Friday. Trump is the incoming, in large part because he repeatedly promised to undo much of what has been done by the outgoing.
For his part, Obama is making conciliatory comments while doing everything possible to make Trump’s transition as painful as possible. Included in bringing the pain is ramming through as many last-minute regulations as can possibly be issued.
Way to respect the will of We the Voters, President Outgoing.
These twilight regs are, of course, on top of the mountains and mountains of regulations already issued these past eight years. And all of those are on top of all the bad laws President Obama passed whilst in possession of a Democrat-majority Congress - most famously, Obamacare and Dodd-Frank, from which have subsequently flowed (tens of) thousands of additional pages of terrible regulations.
There’s a whole lot of big, bad, heinous government to undo--just from President Obama. Then there’s the last century-plus….
Late former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo once observed “You campaign in poetry - you govern in prose.” Un-governing is, if possible, even less flowery. How, exactly, to rollback so much awful government?
The bad legislation - Obamacare and Dodd-Frank - requires good legislation to undo it. Certainly if you want full repeal (and we do). But so much of the Obama legacy consists of regulation - not legislation. How to address all of that?
If it lives by the executive action - it can die by the executive action. But despite the sound of it, that undoing process takes, in many instances, lots of time. There are rule making processes - with announcement periods, public comment periods (which are ignored by government when the public doesn’t like the agenda being pursued) and then finally agency action.
Rome wasn’t built in a day - neither was DC’s Mount Regulation. Regulatory agency answers to the regulation question can happen - but attention to the very many details must be paid if it is to be a truly comprehensive restoration of sanity. The very many agencies must each be charged with meticulous attention to every aspect of Project Rollback. And all of the Is and Ts must be dotted and crossed.
A key component in the Trump-Republican Rollback is a regulatory triage. Determinations must be made - about which regulations are the most harmful, and thus must be dealt with in faster fashion.
Thankfully, there is a much more rapid way to bypass the slower agency rollback - though, sadly, only for very recently imposed regs. That bypass is the Congressional Review Act (CRA): “The law empowers Congress to review, by means of an expedited legislative process, new federal regulations issued by government agencies and, by passage of a joint resolution, to overrule a regulation. Congress is given 60 legislative days to disapprove, after which the rule will go into effect. For the regulation to be invalidated, the Congressional resolution of disapproval either must be signed by the President, or must be passed over the President's veto by two-thirds of both Houses of Congress.”
This is a good way to deal with as much as possible of outgoing Obama’s many post-election regulation additions. Thankfully, the Republican Congress is already working on that. A slate of rollbacks will be on the Oval Office’s Resolute Desk - passed by Congress and awaiting brand-new-President-Trump’s signature.
But there are some pre-election regs that are so egregious, so damaging to the private sector - that they too deserve this expedited undoing. One such regulatory assault is the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)’s ridiculous “privacy” rules.
These rules are a massive power grab by the Commission to favor administration cronies like Google, Facebook and Netflix: “The FCC(’s)…regulations…(dictate) how broadband providers handle sensitive customer data.”
“Broadband providers” are companies like Comcast and Time Warner. These companies have way less access to far less data than companies like Google, Facebook and Netflix - who are unscathed by these new regulations: “95+% of Google’s monstrous income – comes from selling sensitive customer data. Broadband providers – are (much smaller) data-selling competitors. The FCC is about to make it much more difficult for Google’s much smaller competitors – while leaving Google’s massive data-selling model totally alone. Regulations for thee – not for me, eh, Google?”
These regulations will absolutely, inordinately help the likes of Google, Facebook and Netflix (because they clearly need it) - and make our Internet service much more expensive.
These regulations most certainly deserve triage priority - so much so that they should be added to Congress’ slate of CRA rollbacks.
Because, thankfully, though they were imposed last March, they weren’t actually implemented until recently - recently enough for them to be CRA eligible.
Speaker Paul Ryan and his fellow majority Republicans should add them to the CRA pile awaiting President Trump’s Oval Office arrival.