Already acting to reverse the progress of the past eight years, Republicans in Congress passed a bill on Wednesday that would help them roll back key regulations dealing with the environment, consumer protections, and workplace safety, among other things.
The measure would give President-elect Donald Trump the authority to dismantle regulations he doesn’t like once he is officially president.
More from Reuters:
Republicans on Wednesday passed a bill in the House of Representatives that touched on nearly every step U.S. agencies take in creating and applying new rules, continuing their blitz to radically reform “abusive” federal regulation of areas from the environment to the workplace.
In a 238-183 vote, the House passed the “Regulatory Accountability Act,” which combined eight bills aimed at changing how the vast government bureaucracy runs. Only five Democrats voted for it.
The legislation would give President-elect Donald Trump tools “to wipe out abusive regulation,” said Bob Goodlatte, the Judiciary Committee chairman who is among the many House leaders calling for lighter regulation and saying the costs to comply with federal rules are too high.
While Republicans claim that the legislation is an effort to follow through on President-elect Donald Trump’s promise to “drain the swamp,” it’s really quite the opposite.
Instead of wanting to keep common sense regulations in place to protect the environment and consumers, Republicans are hoping to return to the pre-Obama, pre-Great Recession days when deregulation allowed businesses and the markets to do as they pleased, no matter who they hurt.
Not only does the move make critical regulations of the future more difficult, but it also jeopardizes those already on the books, including many – particularly those meant to protect the environment – enacted under President Obama.
According to Reuters, Democrat John Conyers expressed his outrage, saying that the GOP move hampers the government’s ability to protect “public health and safety, the environment, workplace safety and consumer financial protections.”
Conyers said Republicans are essentially giving special interests the right to scrap any regulation they don’t like.
“Many of these new requirements are intended to facilitate the ability of regulated entities – such as well-funded corporate interests – to intervene and derail regulatory protections they oppose,” he said, according to Reuters.
The passage of this bill comes just a week after Republicans in Congress pushed through a similar measure that expanded the authority of Congress, allowing them to reverse dozens of regulations recently enacted by President Obama.
Luckily, Democrats have a sufficient number of Senate seats to filibuster the bills, so it’s not a guarantee that the legislation will become law. Still, it’s clear what the GOP’s priorities will be over the next four years.