Wednesday, January 11, 2017

From Washington Post: Trump may unwittingly agree to tie his hands, limit executive power

Here's commentary on efforts Congress seems to ne making in order to reign in the executive branch. In 2305 we will discuss the expansion of executive power over American history. This happened largely because Congress allowed it to happen by establishing new agencies and department to fulfill new functions. The growth began in the late 19th century, and picked up steam in the 30s (the New Deal) and the 60s (the Great Society).

A goal of conservatives has been to limit this growth, if not turn it back. The following article discusses how Republicans in Congress, seeing an opportunity to do so, are developing strategies to make it a reality.

This involves the use of something called the Congressional Review Act, a law that was part of the Contract with America. It is specifically designed to allow Congress the opportunity to undo rules passed by the bureaucracy.

- Click here for the article.

Donald Trump is eager to score some early wins, so that he can look like an effective leader, and congressional Republicans are fixing to give him bills he can sign immediately upon taking office. But, for the new president, some might bring unintended consequences.
The Congressional Review Act is such an incredibly powerful tool that it has only been used once in the two decades it has been on the books. In the next couple months, it will probably be used about half a dozen times.
Somewhere around 150 rules finalized by the Obama administration – going as far back as last June – could be overturned under the CRA, if Congress passes a “joint resolution of disapproval” and the new president signs off.
High on the chopping block: Regulations which would curb methane emissions from the oil and gas sector, prohibit coal-mining companies from engaging in activities that permanently pollute streams used for drinking water and increasing the salary threshold below which employees are entitled to overtime pay. Industry lobbyists are also pushing GOP lawmakers to get of nondiscrimination and fair pay rules for federal contractors.
And a bunch of companies are trying to drum up AstroTurf support for rescinding Energy Department efficiency standards for dehumidifiers, battery chargers and air conditioners.
But here’s the rub: the executive branch may never again be allowed to regulate on these subjects if the Congressional Review Act is employed. It is hard to overstate what a big deal that is and how much it raises the stakes. If the overtime rule gets rescinded, for example, any new overtime requirements would need to pass Congress. If you know anything about the Hill, you know that will happen – when pigs fly…
Every modern president, no matter his party, has not been able to resist expanding the regulatory state and trying to usurp Congress’s power, at least to some degree. The power that comes with controlling the executive branch has tended to seduce even the most conscientiously conservative appointees once they get their security details.

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