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Jan. 31, 2017 by Amy Sinden

Trump's Latest Executive Order: Scrap Two Regs for the Price of One

Remember how Donald Trump bragged he was going to run the country like a business?

Imagine if before Trump could open a new casino, he was bound by a rule to close two existing casinos, and the costs of the new casino couldn't exceed the cost savings from no longer operating the old ones. Would this make sense as a business strategy? Of course not.

Unless, of course, you were secretly trying to sabotage the business and run it into the ground (and maybe drown it in a bathtub).

Funny then, that Trump would impose that rule on the agencies now working for him. But that's just what he's done. Under Trump's latest executive order (signed Monday, January 30), before a federal agency can issue a new regulation, the agency first has to rescind two pre-existing regulations. And the cost savings from scrapping the two existing regulations has to equal or exceed the costs of the new one.

That's right. It's a kind of backwards, upside-down, two-for-one sale.

The idea that we would measure the effect of a regulation by looking only at its costs is, of course, patently absurd. Regulations, like casinos, have …

Jan. 31, 2017 by Matt Shudtz
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As long as Donald Trump is in the White House, progressives should harbor no delusions that the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is going to be a wool-socks-in-Birkenstocks tree hugger. Scott Pruitt is certainly no such individual. But nor is he a person with the experience, depth of understanding of the agency’s programs, or temperament to run the agency.

The job of EPA Administrator under President Trump will surely prove to be the most thankless cabinet-level job. Trump has consistently slammed the agency as being a hindrance to business development and promised to curtail its power. Meanwhile, the leader of Trump’s EPA transition team has been envisioning a future in which the agency operates with resources and staffing levels that have not been seen since the Nixon administration.

Yet over on Capitol Hill, you would be hard pressed to find anyone willing to …

Jan. 30, 2017 by Katie Tracy
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The Senate Labor Committee will hold a confirmation hearing Feb. 7 on President Donald Trump's nomination of Andrew Puzder as Secretary of Labor. If confirmed by a vote of the full Senate, Puzder will oversee all of the agencies and departments within the Department of Labor, including the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Wage and Hour Division (WHD), and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP).

This is troubling, to say the least, because a look at Puzder's record and public statements on labor issues suggests he is not the right person for the job: he believes in cutting worker protections, not strengthening them. 

Puzder currently serves as CEO of CKE Restaurants, Inc., the parent company of fast-food chains Carl's Jr., Hardee's, Green Burrito, and Red Burrito. On the CKE website, Puzder's biography touts his nickname by some as …

Jan. 30, 2017 by David Driesen
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Donald Trump based his candidacy on the claim that he would serve working-class people who established politicians have neglected. He promised $1 trillion of infrastructure investment over 10 years, which could generate a lot of blue-collar employment while potentially repairing crumbling bridges and roads, replacing antiquated wastewater treatment systems (in Flint and elsewhere), and creating a mass transit system that could move us into the 21st century in that realm. A sound infrastructure program, unlike anything else that Trump has proposed, really would grow the economy and help hard-hit workers across the country. 

Unfortunately, he did not propose that government raise and spend $1 trillion on infrastructure. Instead of funding his program with a modest tax increase and bond revenue, he promised a $9 trillion tax cut primarily benefitting wealthy people like himself. 

He has tried to square the circle by suggesting that the government offer $137 …

Jan. 25, 2017 by Matthew Freeman
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Only a few days into the Trump administration, and a “gang that doesn’t shoot straight” narrative is taking root in the media. From outright lies about crowd numbers at the inauguration, to fictionalized accounts of millions of illegally cast votes, to hashtag-ready assertions about “alternative facts,” it’s been a rough start, and the media is covering it all, exposing the dishonesty.

That, at least, is how I imagine the conversation is going in Washington, D.C., news bureaus. But while all that ink and airtime is being spent on the new administration’s distant relationship with reality, it’s not having any apparent difficulty moving its agenda. On the regulatory front, it has begun to freeze or roll back a host of recently developed federal safeguards while its allies in the House of Representatives have been working on a series of bills that would do …

Jan. 24, 2017 by Brian Gumm
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NEWS RELEASE: Rep. Mick Mulvaney Should Not Be Confirmed to Lead the Office of Management and Budget                                                                                                             

Today, the Senate Committees on Budget and Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs held confirmation hearings for Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC), President Donald Trump's selection for Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Mulvaney tried to assuage some of the concerns about his nomination, but his answers attempting to mask his disdain for public protections – combined with his past rhetoric and actions – show that he should not be confirmed. 

Robert Verchick, President of the Center for Progressive Reform (CPR), summed up the concerns about Mulvaney. "The Office of Management and Budget serves several key roles within the federal government, including proposing the budgets of protective agencies and overseeing the regulatory process," Verchick said. "As an anti-government ideologue, Rep. Mick Mulvaney is wholly unqualified to serve as director of …

Jan. 24, 2017 by Catherine O'Neill
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The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently updated their nationwide consumption advisory on mercury contamination in fish. The advisory, which focuses on women of childbearing age and children, aims to "make it easier than ever" to determine which fish species to eat and which to avoid. It seeks to ensure that women and children don't have to forgo the health benefits of eating fish in order to avoid consuming the potent neurodevelopmental toxin.   

Despite its stated goals, the advisory has already generated criticism because it continues to require families to navigate a complex public health message. As NPR reporter Clare Leschin-Hoar observes, "Critics say the government advisory has done more harm than good, scaring many pregnant and nursing women (and let's be real — pretty much everyone else) away from eating seafood altogether." 

But this criticism just scratches the surface of …

Jan. 23, 2017 by Alexandra Klass
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There are few reasons for the Senate to confirm former Texas Governor Rick Perry as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and many reasons to oppose his confirmation. He famously vowed to abolish the DOE when he ran for president in 2012 (along with several other federal agencies) but then could not even remember the name of the agency when asked about it during the Republican primary debates. One might have guessed at that time that he knew very little about what the agency actually did. This lack of knowledge has been borne out during the confirmation process. 

Governor Perry now says that he has learned a bit more about the mission and responsibilities of the DOE, which include defense-related energy projects, the national laboratories (Argonne, Fermi, Los Alamos, etc.), and providing funding and technical expertise for a wide range of public- and private-sector …

Jan. 19, 2017 by Daniel Farber
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It's smart to take precautions against climate change. More can be done, even in the Trump era.

At night, you can hear the hooting of owls in the vineyard. The owners have deployed owls and falcons to control the pests that threaten the Kendall Jackson vineyards due to milder winters. But birds of prey aren't the only things flying above the vineyard. There are also drones, which are used to observe small differences in the color of the vines that are clues to water needs and other issues. The goal is to help the vineyard flourish despite a drier, warmer climate.

Kendall Jackson certainly has reasons to be concerned. As the New York Times reports, one study suggests that "by 2050, many regions in Europe, including much of Italy and swaths of Southern France, could become unsuitable for wine grapes" and "California production could fall …

Jan. 19, 2017 by Robert Glicksman
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Rep. Ryan Zinke, a congressman from Montana and Donald Trump's pick for the next Secretary of the Interior, said some encouraging things in his Senate hearing on January 18. First, he acknowledged that the climate is changing and that "man has had an influence," disavowing Trump's notorious statement that climate change is a hoax. Second, he stated in strong terms his opposition to divestiture of the lands and resources owned by the federal government, declaring that "I am absolutely against transfer and sale of public lands. I can't be more clear." Third, he reiterated his support for continuing congressional financing of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which has enabled federal, state, and local governments to acquire millions of acres of land for recreational purposes since its creation in 1965. 

Each of these positive sentiments comes with significant caveats attached to them, however. Let …

CPR HOMEPAGE
More on CPR's Work & Scholars.
Jan. 31, 2017

Trump's Latest Executive Order: Scrap Two Regs for the Price of One

Jan. 31, 2017

You Can't Always Get What You Want

Jan. 30, 2017

Andrew Puzder Should Not Be the Next Labor Secretary

Jan. 30, 2017

Tax Credits and Public Spending on Infrastructure

Jan. 25, 2017

Distracter-in-Chief

Jan. 24, 2017

CPR Statement: Rep. Mick Mulvaney Should Not Be Confirmed to Lead the Office of Management and Budget

Jan. 24, 2017

Health for Women, Health for All