Warren defends regulations amid onslaught from Trump

Warren defends regulations amid onslaught from Trump
© Greg Nash

Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenOn The Money: Trump rips Fed over rate hikes | Dems fume as consumer agency pick refuses to discuss border policy | Senate panel clears Trump IRS nominee Dems fume as Trump's consumer bureau pick refuses to discuss role in border policy Trump vows to hold second meeting with Putin MORE (D-Mass.), a potential 2020 White House contender, slammed President TrumpDonald John TrumpNFL freezes policy barring players from protesting during anthem McConnell spokesman on Putin visit: 'There is no invitation from Congress' Petition urges University of Virginia not to hire Marc Short MORE and Republicans on Tuesday for their crusade to cut regulations, calling their claim that rules burden businesses “a big, greasy baloney sandwich.”

“Don’t tell me that all rules do is restrict freedom,” Warren said while speaking at a symposium called “The War on Regulation” organized by the Coalition for Sensible Safeguards at Georgetown Law School.

“Good rules empower people to live, work, and do business freely and safely.”

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A cornerstone of Trump’s agenda has been slashing regulations. When he took office, he ordered federal agencies to eliminate two rules for every new rule proposed and told his Cabinet officials to create regulatory task forces to come up with rules that can be repealed.

Republicans in Congress, meanwhile, have been working to weaken the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which Warren spearheaded, and overturn rules from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) it created.

Warren said Trump and his team have embarked on an aggressive effort to kill the rules that protect the American people from corporate predators.

“The Trump administration and an army of lobbyists are determined to rig the game in their favor, to boost their own profits — the cost to consumers be damned,” she said.

“But it’s not just the CFPB that’s under attack. In agency after agency, across the federal government, powerful corporations and their Republican allies are working overtime to roll back basic rules that protect the rest of us.”

Warren took a specific swipe at Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittZinke left some details off public calendar: report EPA watchdog faults ‘management weaknesses’ in Flint water crisis House completes first half of 2019 spending bills MORE, who faces ongoing criticism for his spending and professional relationships with lobbyists.

“Corruption oozes out of his office, from wasting hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars, to cutting deals to make himself rich, to doing the bidding of the highest paid lobbyists,” she said. 

She highlighted his plans to repeal the Obama-era Clean Water Rule and the Clean Power Plan, which was designed to fight climate change.

Warren said she will introduce sweeping anti-corruption legislation in the coming weeks “to clean up corporate money sloshing around Washington and make it possible for our elected government to actually work for the American people again.”

She said her plan will padlock the revolving door between government and industry, eliminate the ability of government decisionmakers to enrich themselves through their government service and empower federal agencies to pass strong regulations that benefit the public by ending corporate capture of the regulatory process.

“Change is coming,” she said. “When we send a message that corporate profits and powerful interests cannot overpower the health, safety, and economic well-being of hardworking families, we fire a warning shot. This is our time, our responsibility, our chance to rebuild a country where government works, not just for the rich and powerful, but for the people.”