One of the interesting things about this session of conference is that the Congress seems willing to actually take action to reduce the growth of the regulatory state. According to Axios, this is the scorecard to date. These are the rules that the Congress has killed:
- The Department of Interior’s (DOI) Stream Buffer Rule — “a regulation intended to protect surface water from mining operations.”
- The Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) disclosure rule for resource extraction
- The Social Security Administration NICS rule for firearm purchases by people who have a designated payee for their social security benefits.
- A federal contracts rule that targets businesses accused of violating labor laws.
- The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) methane venting and flaring rule.
- The Bureau of Land Management Planning 2.0 rule
- Two education CRAs: The Department of Education’s teacher preparation and accountability rules.
Five more are coming up this week:
- H.J.Res. 42: “Disapproving the rule submitted by the Department of Labor relating to drug testing of unemployment compensation applicants”
- H.J.Res. 66: “Disapproving the rule submitted by the Department of Labor relating to savings arrangements established by States for non-governmental employees”
- H.J.Res. 67: “Disapproving the rule submitted by the Department of Labor relating to savings arrangements established by qualified State political subdivisions for non-governmental employees.”
- H.J.Res. 69: “Providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the final rule of the Department of the Interior relating to ‘Non-Subsistence Take of Wildlife, and Public Participation and Closure Procedures, on National Wildlife Refuges in Alaska’.”
- H.J.Res. 43: “Providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the final rule submitted by Secretary of Health and Human Services relating to compliance with title X requirements by project recipients in selecting subrecipients.”
The last one is one of the most important because it allows states to shut off Planned Parenthood’s access to federal money under Title X “family planning” grants.
Three advocacy groups filed a sweeping federal lawsuit Wednesday, challenging President Trump’s executive order requiring two federal regulations to be “identified for elimination” for every new one added — arguing that the order fundamentally takes over Congress’s powers to enact laws to protect public health, safety, and the environment.
“The Executive Order exceeds the President’s authority under the Constitution, usurps Congress’s Article I legislative authority, and violates the President’s obligation to ‘take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed,’” says the lawsuit filed by Public Citizen, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Communications Workers of America.
At first blush, the lawsuit looks like bullsh**. The complainants have no standing, they have suffered no harm, real or imaginary, there is no requirement that more regulations be promulgated to enforce extant laws, the EO specfically exempts health and safety regulations from the count, etc., etc., but a couple of weeks ago no one would have dreamed that a federal judge could make national security policy for the United States.