Environment

Democrats Use Rule-Making Power to Undo Trump Policies

SK Ashby
Written by SK Ashby

The threat of a Republican filibuster can stop congressional Democrats from passing some of their biggest policy proposals unless they eliminate the legislative filibuster, but there are least some Trump-era policies they can easily repeal using a simple majority vote.

Changing federal regulations ordinarily requires a lengthy process of drafting, publishing, and finalizing after a mandatory period of public comment is completed, but Congress also has the power to repeal individual regulations using the Congressional Review Act.

Republicans used their authority to repeal some of the Obama administration's environmental regulations while they controlled both chambers of Congress, but now the shoe is on the other food. Democrats are reportedly going to eliminate two Trump-era regulations using the Congressional Review Act.

The first rule they plan to reinstate regulations limiting methane gas emissions from drilling.

Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced Thursday he is backing an effort to restore Environmental Protection Agency requirements meant to fix leaks of the potent greenhouse gas from new wells, pipelines and other equipment that were watered down by the Trump administration, with a floor vote planned for April. On the other side of the Capitol, House Democrats led by Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) are set to introduce a companion resolution this week.

“Time is of the essence in this fight to combat the climate crisis,” DeGette said. “If we’re serious about wanting to stave off the worst effects of climate change before it’s too late, then we absolutely have to take steps now to reduce the amount of methane that’s being released into our atmosphere.”

This is an obvious no-brainer, but the other regulation Democrats plan to repeal is more insidious if you ask me.

Democrats have initiated the process to repeal Trump's rules that blocked public shareholders from steering corporations toward fighting climate change among other things.

The resolution issued by Senate Banking Chairman Sherrod Brown under the Congressional Review Act would undo September 2020 proxy rules adopted by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Those rules had set new limits on shareholders’ ability to call for corporate changes on thorny issues like climate change disclosures and executive compensation.

The move to undo the rule would require a companion House of Representatives resolution before it can take effect.

It's not as if my heart is bleeding for rich shareholders, but shareholders calling on corporations to change their policies to be more progressive is among the purest expressions of the free market that I can think of so, naturally, Republicans tried to stop it.

Republicans are not for Democracy, free markets, or healthy environments.