House Judiciary seeks briefing on Trump order to slash regs to assist the economy

House Judiciary seeks briefing on Trump order to slash regs to assist the economy
© Bonnie Cash

The House Judiciary Committee is asking the Trump administration to turn over a list of deregulatory actions taken to bolster the economy during the coronavirus pandemic, arguing the White House has been inappropriately fast-tracking priorities unrelated to addressing the virus. 

The Friday letter argues the White House has backwards priorities: delaying action on COVID-19 and its resulting economic fallout while moving ahead with rollbacks they argue should be delayed while addressing the pandemic directly.

The committee also wants a briefing on a May executive order from President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump suggests some states may 'pay nothing' as part of unemployment plan Trump denies White House asked about adding him to Mount Rushmore Trump, US face pivotal UN vote on Iran MORE directing agencies to “identify regulatory standards that may inhibit economic recovery,” asking leaders to permanently or temporarily cut any regulation they deem necessary.

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“Instead of addressing this crisis head-on, the Trump Administration appears to be exploiting the chaos of the pandemic by rolling back critical civil rights regulatory protections and environmental safeguards,” lawmakers wrote in a letter spearheaded by Judiciary Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerBy questioning Barr, Democrats unmasked their policy of betrayal Chris Wallace: Barr hearing 'an embarrassment' for Democrats: 'Just wanted to excoriate him' Apple posts blowout third quarter MORE (D-N.Y.) and addressed to Office of Management and Budget acting director Russell Vought.

“It is essential that agencies focus on responding to the ongoing national emergency and economic recovery by taking regulatory action that is necessary to the pandemic response, rather than prioritizing harmful deregulation that undermines public health and safety,” they wrote.

The White House did not respond to a request for comment.

Democrats have made repeated calls across several agencies to delay comment periods and new rules that aren’t otherwise related to the pandemic, arguing the public needs more time to weigh in while many health and scientific experts are otherwise engaged fighting the pandemic.

The letter also asks for a list of any comment periods that have been extended.

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Trump has since signed another executive order waiving requirements under a suite of environmental laws, a move the administration says will boost the economy amid the pandemic.

But critics said the orders would do little to help the economy. 

“Let’s be clear, this executive order is not about providing immediate relief to the American people and boosting our economy. If President Trump was interested in anything other than expanding his power, there are a number of things he and his Administration could do to help our country combat this deadly epidemic and spur economic growth,” Sen. Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperNot a pretty picture: Money laundering and America's art market OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Trump's pitch to Maine lobstermen falls flat | White House pushed to release documents on projects expedited due to coronavirus | Trump faces another challenge to rewrite of bedrock environmental law NEPA White House pushed to release documents on projects expedited due to coronavirus MORE (D-Del.), ranking member on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, said when the order was signed last week. 

“Once again, President Trump is using the pretense of a deadly pandemic and its ensuing economic calamity to accelerate his Administration’s agenda," he added.