Trump sued over ‘1-in-2-out’ regulations order

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Liberal groups are taking legal action against an executive order from President Trump that directs federal agencies to repeal two regulations for each new rule they issue.

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and Public Citizen on Wednesday sued Trump in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia seeking to block the so-called 1-in-2-out executive order.  

The groups argue that Trump’s Jan. 30 order exceeds his authority under the Constitution and will block important health, safety and environmental protections without taking the benefits of those rules into account. 

{mosads}Chris Shelton, president of CWA, a union, said workers shouldn’t be required to “trade off one set of job, health and safety protections in order to get protection from another equally dangerous condition.”

“This order means that the asbestos workplace standard, for example, could be discarded in order to adopt safeguards for nurses from infectious diseases in their workplaces,” Shelton said in a statement.  

White House press secretary Sean Spicer said the lawsuit “presumes a lot of outcomes that are wildly inaccurate.”

“It makes a ton of assumptions that call for speculation on what may or may not happen in the future and that’s highly — it’s just subjective at best and it doesn’t have any basis in fact,” Spicer said.

“The bottom line is that overregulation has stemmed economic growth and job creation. Reviewing those to make sure that they are meeting their intent and not siphoning job creation at the expense of whatever they were intended to do is something that should be … welcomed by everybody.” 

Trump has vowed to repeal 75 percent of all federal regulation, a tall task considering that there are more than 178,000 pages of rules in the Code of Federal Regulations. Many of the regulations were written to carry out laws passed by Congress.

The president’s 1-in-2-out order is part of his larger plan to roll back not only controversial regulations from the Obama administration, but also outdated regulations that remain in the government’s rulebook decades after they were issued.

Other countries — including Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom —have implemented similar policies.

“This isn’t a knock on President Obama; this is a knock on many presidents preceding me,” Trump said last week from the Oval Office when he signed the order.

Administration officials characterized the executive order as the “most significant administrative action in the world of regulatory reform” since Ronald Reagan was in the White House.

Trump also issued a regulatory moratorium the day of his inauguration, prohibiting agencies from issuing new rules until his Cabinet members have a chance to review them. The moratorium also ordered agencies to delay recently issued regulations, and pull back those rules that were sent to the Federal Register for publication.

On Friday, Trump ordered the Labor Department to review the controversial fiduciary rule, issued under Obama, that requires retirement advisers to act in the best interest of their investors.

Many of Trump’s actions on regulations are expected to face legal challenges, with liberal groups vowing to spend millions battling his administration in court.   

In addition to the complaints filed Wednesday over the president’s 1-in-2-out order, Trump is also battling a lawsuit over the travel ban he signed temporarily banning entry to the United States from seven countries.

The lawsuit against Trump’s regulatory order names Mark Sandy, acting director of the White House’s Office of Management and Budget, which is tasked with enforcing the policy, as well as more than a dozen federal agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency and the Energy, Transportation, Labor and Interior departments.

“President Trump’s order would deny Americans the basic protections they rightly expect,” NRDC President Rhea Suh said in a statement. “New efforts to stop pollution don’t automatically make old ones unnecessary.”

“When you make policy by tweet, it yields irrational rules,” Suh added. “This order imposes a false choice between clean air, clean water, safe food and other environmental safeguards.” 

Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, said Trump’s order is “irrational.”

“If implemented, the order would result in lasting damage to our government’s ability to save lives, protect our environment, police Wall Street, keep consumers safe and fight discrimination,” Weissman said in a statement.

“It would fundamentally change our government’s role from one of protecting the public to protecting corporate profits,” he added.

Jordan Fabian contributed.

This story was updated at 2:54 p.m.

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