July 7, 2017

WELL, WELL: Congress joins Trump war on regs, cuts a year’s worth in one week.

Congressional lawmakers have gone all in on President Trump’s bid to slash Obama-era regulations, targeting $19 billion in rules and the elimination of enough red tape to free up 5,200 federal workers, according to a new analysis.

The cuts proposed by the House Appropriations Committee this week amount to a year’s worth of regulations under the Obama administration, said the report from American Action Forum.

Analyst Sam Batkins wrote, “The suite of appropriations bills released this week goes further, curtailing more than $19 billion in total regulatory costs and eliminating 10.4 million hours of paperwork, the equivalent of eliminating all regulations from 2006 and freeing 5,200 employees from paperwork compliance.”

His report, provided to Secrets in advance of its release today, said that the committee’s funding bills target regulations in the areas of financial services, agriculture and energy. The biggest ticket item: “Repeal of the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill’s Volcker rule, which originally estimated $4.3 billion in costs and 2.3 million new paperwork burden hours.”

Batkins, AAF’s director of regulatory policy, explained that Congress can be very slow in cutting regulations, but added that appropriators are moving with unusual speed at the same time Trump’s team is also targeting rules within federal agencies for elimination.

Faster, please. Related: Could Trump Really Be Draining The Swamp? The water appears to be receding at key Beltway bureaucracies.

The Senate still hasn’t voted on ObamaCare reform, U.S. workers are still waiting for tax cuts to drive economic growth and President of the United States Donald Trump is trading insults with the co-hosts of an MSNBC talk show. Yet Mr. Trump appears to be making progress in what might have seemed the most difficult task given to him by voters in 2016: reducing the power of Washington’s permanent bureaucracy.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson wasn’t exactly dying to move to Washington to run a federal department, but he seems to have warmed to the task. Max Bergmann, a former Obama Administration official now at the leftist Center for American Progress, writes in Politico that the “deconstruction of the State Department is well underway.” Discounting for the usual Beltway hyperbole, this probably isn’t as good as it sounds.

All kidding aside, the State Department is one federal agency that was actually contemplated by America’s founders. Conducting foreign policy is an important and necessary task for our central government. But like so much of the Beltway bureaucracy State has been overfunded and undermanaged for years. Now, despite what you may have read about untouchable bureaucrats unaccountable to the public they are supposed to serve, Mr. Tillerson has found ways to clean house. . . .

The former Obama appointee is apparently so unnerved by the Trump-Tillerson era at State that he lets slip the fact that the career staff didn’t think much of the previous management either, and that the conservative critique of the department is at least partly true.

More, please.

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