From catfish to kombucha: Conservatives target rules
House Freedom Caucus has a wish list of 228 to scrap in first 100 days.
House conservatives have a message for President-elect Donald Trump: Use your first 100 days to scrap regulations — from catfish to ceiling fans to the Export-Import Bank.
The House Freedom Caucus wish list, sent by chairman Mark Meadows to Trump’s transition team, includes 228 federal regulations to examine or revoke. It’s designed to hold Trump to his campaign promise to use his presidential pen to loosen rules on businesses. It’s also certain to trigger partisan fights in Congress.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is also on board. “The presidentelect has made it clear he’s going to move on as many regulatory changes as he can make as soon as he takes office,” McConnell said this week.
High on the Freedom Caucus’ agenda are ending President Barack Obama’s executive actions protecting undocumented immigrants who arrived as children and ending the Export-Import Bank. The list also calls for undoing the 1905 law that created the Overseas Private Investment Corp.
The list also targets First Lady Michelle Obama’s initiative against childhood obesity, rules requiring for-profit colleges to teach employable skills, regulations intended to make ceiling fans and washing machines more energy-efficient. Net neutrality rules that benefit internet content providers over broadband providers also make the list.
The caucus also included Southern lawmaker-authored protections for the domestic catfish growers and alcohol transport regulations that hit the kombucha tea industry. It wants the federal rule barring the transport of drinks with more than 0.5 percent alcohol to be raised, “in order to support the growing kombucha industry.”
For Wall Street, the group is targeting the new fiduciary rule for advisers on retirement plans.
The caucus wants paid sick leave and minimumwage increases for federal contractors to be reversed, along with Obama’s increase in the threshold for overtime pay nationwide.
The group would weaken National School Lunch Program standards that require low salt, whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetables.
The list included for elimination a spate of regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency, ranging from pollution standards for power plants to ozone reduction requirements estimated to cost billions of dollars a year.
The list proposed the elimination of the program that requires refiners to use billions of gallons of ethanol and other biofuels.
A slew of Energy Department rules requiring household products to use less electricity would be voided, including new standards for ceiling fans.
The once-mundane efficiency requirements have come to be seen by the Tea Party and others as a symbol of government overreach and intrusion.
The caucus also takes aim at an Energy Department program that encourages businesses to use alternative vehicles in their fleets.
Meadows, elected this month to succeed Jim Jordan as House Freedom Caucus chairman, assumed his new role last week in part on a platform of going after regulations aggressively.
“For us it is looking at the whole regulatory reform issue,” Meadows, a North Carolina Republican, said. “How do we re-balance that regulatory process where we actually allow the legislative branch to determine policy.”
While some of the executive orders Obama issued can be reversed quickly, others will need to undergo the time-consuming federal rule-making process.
Congress can reverse the most recent regulations with simple majority votes in the House and Senate using the Congressional Review Act.