As the end of the Obama administration neared, the trolls and munchins buried deep in the bowels of the “regulatory” agencies went into overdrive in order to impose more unconstitutional commands on our long-suffering nation. Alas for them, it turns out there’s a law that allows swift repeal of such last-minute baloney, and the GOP is now using it:
Joe Pizarchik spent more than seven years working on a regulation to protect streams from mountaintop removal coal mining. It took Congress 25 hours to kill it.
The rule is just one of dozens enacted in the final months of the Obama administration that congressional Republicans have begun erasing under a once-obscure law — much to the dismay of agency staffers who hauled those regulations through the long process to implementation.
“My biggest disappointment is a majority in Congress ignored the will of the people,” said Pizarchik, who directed the Interior Department’s Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement from 2009 through January. “They ignored the interests of the people in coal country, they ignored the law and they put corporate money ahead of all that.”
Gee, that’s too damn bad. Then again, elections have consequences.
The arrival of a Republican president opened the door for GOP lawmakers to employ a rarely used legislative tool, the Congressional Review Act of 1996, to nullify executive branch regulations issued since mid-June. The act allows lawmakers to sandblast recently enacted rules with a simple majority vote — as they did last week to the stream regulation, which the Interior Department had completed in December. President Donald Trump is expected to sign off on that repeal, along with others moving through the Capitol.
Congress has successfully used the 1996 law only once before, but Republicans are wielding it now to slash away potentially dozens of late-term Obama rules. That has left officials who spent years working on those rules feeling rubbed raw.
Good. Along with the Civil Service, the agencies are ripe for reform or, better, outright dissolution. Since the Nixon administration, they have been merrily writing laws in direct contravention of the Constitution, have weaponized their agencies, and have pretty much defied Real Americans to do something about their self-aggrandizing power grabs.
“It’s important that Congress have a say in the rules that are applied in this country,” said James Gattuso of the Heritage Foundation. “The CRA just makes it easier for Congress and the president to make sure the rules and actions of the agencies reflect their priority.”
The House took up a repeal resolution for Pizarchik’s stream rule shortly before 2 p.m. Feb. 1. The Senate wrapped up its vote — all Republicans but one were joined by four Democrats — shortly after 3 p.m. Feb. 2. That’s about as fast as a measure can clear Congress, and the swiftness has former Obama officials wondering whether lawmakers even understood the regulations they voted to kill.
More, please. Faster, please. Harder, please. Rooting the “progressive” rot from the public payroll needs to be one of the top priorities of the Trump administration, and so far the signs are good.
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