Seven regulations targeted by Trump

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President Trump has spent his first months in office working to fulfill his campaign pledge of rolling back regulations.

On the campaign trail, Trump said that as many as 70 percent of federal agency regulations could be eliminated by his administration. 

{mosads}While the conservative American Action Forum has argued it’s “likely impossible” for Trump to deliver on his promise, the president is using every tool at his disposal to try. 

In the last three months, Trump has issued executive orders directing agencies to rewrite Obama-era climate rules and find two rules to repeal for every new rule created. He’s also directed each agency to name a regulatory reform officer and create a task force to carry out his regulatory agenda.   

The president has also signed 13 resolutions passed by Congress under the Congressional Review Act that overturned rules the Obama administration finalized before leaving office.

Here’s a look at the top regulations Trump has targeted.

Clean Power Plan

Trump signed an executive order in March directing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reconsider the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan.

The rule, currently tied up in the courts, requires a 32 percent reduction in carbon-dioxide emissions from existing electric utilities by 2050 from 2005 levels. The Obama administration touted the rule as the cornerstone of U.S. efforts to combat climate change. 

Trump’s order also lifted all moratoriums on coal leasing activities on federal land, including the three-year ban on new projects that had been imposed by Obama.

Waters of the U.S. rule 

Trump signed an executive order in February directing the EPA to rescind or revise the Waters of the United States rule, which gives EPA the authority to regulate pollution of minor bodies of water, like streams and ponds. 

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals put the rule on hold in 2015 while a number of legal challenges made their way through the courts. The Supreme Court is expected to hear arguments later this term in a fight over whether a district court or a federal court of appeals has jurisdiction in hearing the consolidated cases.   

In the meantime, the rule remains in limbo.

Blacklisting rule

Congress passed and Trump singed a resolution under the Congressional Review Act to repeal a rule requiring companies to report any labor law violations or alleged violations they’ve had in the last three years when bidding on federal contracts over $500,000.

Federal contractors argued the rule blacklisted them from government work, while labor rights groups claimed the rule was needed to weed out bad actors. 

The use of the CRA to repeal the rule means that the Labor Department cannot resurrect the rule in future administrations.

Limits on drug testing for unemployment benefits

The president also did away with rules limiting the ability of states to drug test for unemployment benefits in signing a CRA resolution from Congress at the end of March.

The rule had stipulated that states could only perform drug test for occupations the Labor Department said regularly required drug tests. 

Republicans argued the Labor Department overstepped its executive authority by prohibiting states from drafting their own drug testing policies. Democrats defended the rules, saying they gave states the ability to randomly drug test workers who through no fault of their own are unemployed, poor or in need of public assistance.  

Gun limits for mentally ill 

A rule to block people mentally ill people from owning a gun was also nixed by a CRA resolution that Trump signed at the end of February. 

The rule would have forced the Social Security Administration to report people who receive disability benefits and also have a mental health condition to the FBI’s background check system. The Obama administration issued the rule after 20 children and six adults were killed in a shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012.

Republicans and gun rights groups called the rule ill conceived, saying it stripped people of their right Second Amendment rights without due process. 

Broadband privacy protections

Trump signed a bill earlier this month to repeal the Federal Communications Commissions rule that prevented service providers from selling information about their subscriber’s like app usage and web browsing histories. 

The rule had required providers to get a consumer’s consent before sharing certain information. 

The repeal of the rule generated a heavy public backlash.   

Stream Protection Rule 

Trump signed a bill to do away with Obama’s rule to prevent miners from dumping coal waste into streams and waterways. 

Republicans said the rule killed coal jobs and was unnecessary. Environmental groups argued it was needed to keep the waterways from being polluted with toxic metals like mercury and arsenic. 

Overtime rule 

The Trump administration has signaled it’s looking to rollback President Obama’s rule to expand overtime pay to some 4 million Americans.

At the administration’s request, a judge for the Firth Circuit Court agreed to delay a case challenging a lower court’s decision in November to temporarily block the rule from taking effect.

The Trump administration said it needed 60 days to give “the incoming leadership personnel adequate time to consider the issue.”

The Obama administration filed the original appeal, but now Trump officials will have to decide whether to defend the rule. Nevada and 20 other states, which filed the original lawsuit, claim the rule is unconstitutional because it dictates how much states must pay employees for government work.


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