Trump team continues to roll back the regulatory state

Trump team continues to roll back the regulatory state
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In President Donald Trump’s war on burdensome, unnecessary government regulations, two members of his team stand out: Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittOVERNIGHT ENERGY: EPA declines to tighten smog standards amid pressure from green groups | Democrats split on Trump plan to use development funds for nuclear projects| Russian mining giant reports another fuel spill in Arctic EPA declines to tighten smog standards amid pressure from green groups Trump flails as audience dwindles and ratings plummet MORE, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and Mick MulvaneyMick MulvaneyTrump's former chief of staff hits coronavirus efforts: 'We still have a testing problem' Coronavirus Report: The Hill's Steve Clemons interviews Chris Christie Trump admin lifts ban on sales of silencers to private foreign buyers MORE, the acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

In his role at the EPA, Pruitt is working to balance protecting the environment with fostering job growth and economic recovery.

Pruitt is guiding the agency back to its proper role of safeguarding human health and the environment while also working to implement Trump’s agenda on job growth — and he’s doing so by cutting onerous regulations.


The New York Times reported last year that in Pruitt’s first four months as EPA administrator, he cut, delayed or blocked over 30 environmental regulations, which the paper called “a regulatory rollback larger in scope than any other over so short a time in the agency’s 47-year history.”


Pruitt recently proposed changing an Obama-era regulation on the disposal of coal ash — a toxic byproduct of burning coal — to give states flexibility in to determining the best way to dispose of the material. The EPA said the proposal could save electric utilities up to $100 million a year in compliance costs.

In the process, Pruitt is reining in a rogue government agency that has operated well beyond its legal authority for years. He recently moved to end an EPA practice dubbed “sue and settle” in which special interest groups would sue the EPA to issue regulations in line with their agendas, and the EPA would settle in acquiescence, effectively allowing the agency to issue regulations outside the scope of their authority. 

“The days of regulation through litigation are over,” Pruitt explained in an October statement.  “We will no longer go behind closed doors and use consent decrees and settlement agreements to resolve lawsuits filed against the Agency by special interest groups where doing so would circumvent the regulatory process set forth by Congress.

"Additionally, gone are the days of routinely paying tens of thousands of dollars in attorney’s fees to these groups with which we swiftly settle,” Pruitt stated.

There is an adage that it is better to be hated than ignored. Nowhere does that ring truer in Washington, D.C. than at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

Since taking the reins of the CFPB in November, Mulvaney has done what any good steward of taxpayer dollars would do — bring accountability and structure back to a once lawless and business-punishing agency.

Not only has Mulvaney declined asking for one penny in operating funds for the bureau for the second quarter of this year, but last week, he asked Congress to rein in the CFPB’s limitless power and authority saying, “The Bureau is far too powerful, and with precious little oversight of its activities.” 

Despite these reforms, Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenIn politics, as in baseball, it ain't over till it's over Trump defends Roger Stone move: He was target of 'Witch Hunt' Democrats blast Trump for commuting Roger Stone: 'The most corrupt president in history' MORE (D-Mass.) has led the chorus of attacks on Mulvaney, accusing him of trying to dismantle her politically-motivated brainchild.

Ironically, what makes Warren’s attacks on Mulvaney all the more rich is that she has all but confirmed to the American people that she and her Democratic colleagues are not interested in accountability and reform. After all, Warren created the CFPB not to protect consumers, but to wield political power.

For proof of that, one needs to look no further than the actions of former CFPB Director Richard CordrayRichard Adams CordrayConsumer bureau revokes payday lending restrictions Supreme Court ruling could unleash new legal challenges to consumer bureau Supreme Court rules consumer bureau director can be fired at will MORE, who used the bureau as a political action committee to reward liberal interest groups and political friends ahead of his run for governor of my home state of Ohio under the guise of “consumer protection.” 

As George Washington University adjunct professor Jeff Joseph pointed out earlier this year, Cordray’s CFPB “picked winners and losers through a bevy of financial regulations, benefitting certain industries at the expense of others.

"Since its inception, the CFPB has issued well over $5 billion in penalties, punishing a wide variety of companies in the name of ‘consumer protection,’” Joseph said.

In response to a recent opinion piece by Sen. Warren, in which she issued her latest salvo on Mulvaney’s leadership, Mulvaney issued the perfect response:

“If Sen. Warren is unsatisfied with my responses to her frequent inquiries, I would remind her that she is the one who conceived of the bureau to be ‘[f]ree of legislative micromanaging’ and who recently reiterated that ‘the whole idea’ of the Bureau was to ‘insulate it from political influence to the extent possible.’”

As President TrumpDonald John TrumpWayfair refutes QAnon-like conspiracy theory that it's trafficking children Stone rails against US justice system in first TV interview since Trump commuted his sentence Federal appeals court rules Trump admin can't withhold federal grants from California sanctuary cities MORE continues his all-out war on the regulatory state, he certainly has picked the right soldiers in Mick Mulvaney and Scott Pruitt to continue draining the proverbial regulatory swamp.

Ken Blackwell, a former domestic policy advisor to the Trump Transition team, is a former Ohio State treasurer, Ohio secretary of State and Mayor of Cincinnati.