Walker, whose ambition for the White House was run over early by the Trump train, urges the incoming Republican president to restore state control and ease “incessant federal overreach.”
“The question is not what functions the federal government should give back to the states, but what functions should the federal government have in the first place,” Walker wrote in a letter sent Tuesday to the Republican president-elect.
“The federal government was originally created to be a small, central government of limited powers, with everything else left to the states. Through years of federal overreach, this model has been turned on its head, and now is the time to write the ship,” Walker added. “Power flows from the people to the government, not the other way around.”
Walker catapulted to the national spotlight by taking on the forces of big government, and surviving political assaults from big labor and its allies on the left.
The Republican governor’s Act 10, introduced nearly six years ago, reformed Wisconsin’s public sector collective bargaining laws, shifting the scales of power back to taxpayers. He became the first governor to survive a recall attempt and went on to win re-election in 2014. He announced a run for president in 2015 but became one of the first Republican candidates to exit the primary campaign amid growing campaign debt and rising Trump momentum.
Walker said he won’t announce whether he’ll seek a third term until after he signs the 2017-19 state budget early next summer.
He had been rumored as a possible cabinet pick, but that appears to be unlikely.
In his letter, Walker urges Trump to provide flexibility in implementing a number of programs that have made him the darling of the conservative movement. The initiatives, according to Walker, include:
- Drug screening, testing, and treatment of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for Able-bodied Adults Without Dependents: “Wisconsin aims to ensure barriers to employment related to substance abuse are addressed as part of our robust SNAP education and Food Share Employment and Training program. In 2015, we announced a policy that would require drug screening and, where appropriate, testing and treatment, for Able-bodied Adults Without Dependents who meet their work requirements by participating in FSET. We have been forced to delay our implementation and are optimistic your administration will give states like Wisconsin the flexibility to provide the accountability the taxpayers demand.”
- Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents Requirements for Medicaid: “Wisconsin has requested a 1115 waiver to apply new policies for childless adults at or below 100 percent of the federal poverty level. Our state would like to encourage healthier lifestyles through differential premiums for childless adults who purposefully increase their health risks while receiving benefits.”
- Refugee Resettlement Process for Refugees from Countries with Terrorist Ties: “Wisconsin has consistently voiced concern about the vetting and relocation of refugees from such countries. We would like our state to have a broader role in determining how many refugees and from which countries until we are comfortable with the vetting process that is being utilized to screen these individuals.”
- State Management of the Grey Wolf Population: “The recovery of the Grey Wolf in Wisconsin is a success story. However, the population needs to be managed appropriately. Our state had been successfully managing the population until a federal court removed that the authority to do so. We would ask that Wisconsin again be allowed to manage this species.”
Walker said he has directed his cabinet secretaries to thoroughly review all programs and federal mandates that add costs to taxpayers, limit the flexibility of effective governance, and impede private sector growth with the intent to ask for relief.
“I encourage governors across the nation to do the same,” Walker said in a statement. “We look forward to partnering with President-elect Trump and his administration to change the course of the federal and state relationship.”
U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, urged the president-elect to “work with Walker on common sense reform.”
“I look forward to supporting these efforts by working with him, Speaker Paul Ryan and my colleagues in the United States Senate to reduce the federal footprint, streamline the coordination between federal and state agencies and roll back the federal regulatory burden that is crippling to Wisconsin families and businesses,” Johnson said Tuesday in a statement.
The impact of a host of Obama administration regulations and executive has been pronounced, particularly in manufacturing-heavy states like Wisconsin.
“The number and cost of federal regulations increased substantially in 2015, as regulators continued to tighten restrictions on American businesses and individuals,” the Heritage Foundation reported earlier this year. “The addition of 43 new major rules last year increased annual regulatory costs by more than $22 billion, bringing the total annual costs of Obama Administration rules to an astonishing $100 billion-plus in just seven years.”
Restrictive regulations have hiked energy rates, increased food prices, and restricted access to credit for consumers and small businesses, Heritage reported.
Trump has pledged to roll back a plethora of regulations imposed by his predecessors, including financial regs that cost lenders and investment firms some $1.7 billion, according to an analysis by the American Action Forum.
In a video released late last month, the president-elect said he will “formulate a rule that says that for every one new regulation, two old regulations must be eliminated.”