By Phil Kerpen
One of the central themes of President Donald Trump’s campaign was the need to extricate the United States from international agreements that hurt American jobs and unfairly disadvantage American companies versus foreign competitors. Another major theme was the promise to reverse Obama’s regulatory power grabs that dramatically expanded government control over our lives without the approval of Congress. Those two themes came together in a very concrete promise when Trump said: “We’re going to cancel the Paris Climate Agreement and stop all payments of U.S. tax dollars to U.N. global warming programs.”
So why hasn’t it happened yet? Public reports indicate that there is an ongoing pitched battle between the president’s top advisers on whether he should keep his campaign promise or abandon it. And my own private sources in the administration believe the promise-breakers may be gaining the upper hand.
Their argument is that America can remain in the agreement while revising its draconian emissions reduction goals in order to “keep a seat at the table.” Bad idea.
The Paris treaty effectively bans coal-fired power plants in the United States while China has 368 coal plants under construction and over 800 in the planning stage. India's coal production under the deal is allowed to double by 2020 – and they are likely to have emissions much higher than what they promised. Even Europe is allowed to build coal plants. It forces Americans to endure painful cuts while the rest of the world continues with business as usual.
Even worse, American taxpayers will be forced to cough up $100 billion in climate-related foreign aid by 2020, with the promise of much more to follow.
As Trump observed on the stump:
“President Obama entered the United States into the Paris Climate Accords – unilaterally, and without the permission of Congress. This agreement gives foreign bureaucrats control over how much energy we use right here in America.”
The idea that we could adjust how draconian the cuts are and remain in the agreement depends on a dicey matter of legal interpretation.
Article 4.11 of the Paris treaty says “A Party may at any time adjust its existing nationally determined contribution with a view to enhancing its level of ambition.”
Is easing off the energy rationing by allowing higher emissions enhancing ambition? Maybe, but I wouldn’t bet on it.
Moreover, with the EPA undertaking an effort to reverse Obama-era regulations designed to make electricity prices necessary skyrocket via draconian emissions cuts, accepting the validity of the Paris agreement will hand environmentalist groups and state attorneys general a powerful weapon that could derail the entire deregulatory effort. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, for instance, almost certainly has the issue fully briefed.
State Department lawyers insist these concerns can be ignored. White House Counsel Don McGahn reportedly disagrees and sees these as very real vulnerabilities – and who can doubt that the environmentalists and liberal state AGs are likely to find the most anti-Trump judges they can to see things their...
Today the FCC voted 2-1 on party lines to begin accepting public comment on a proposal to reverse the 2015 Obama administration order reducing the Internet to a regulated public utility and returning to the previous light-touch policy.
“We commend Chairman Ajit Pai and Commissioner Mike O’Rielly for standing up to an onslaught of misinformation, smears, and attacks from the radical left – including physical intimidation of the chairman’s home and family,” said American Commitment president Phil Kerpen.
“The Obama administration directed Tom Wheeler to adopt a plan to regulate the Internet under Title II that empowers federal bureaucrats to overrule consumers and deny them choices of products, services, and applications,” Kerpen said. “The order is already undermining investment, and if a Democrat had won the presidential election we would already be seeing popular services banned. The American people chose a different path, a president and in turn, an FCC chairman, committed to deregulation, free markets, and empowering individual Americans.”
The clearest statement of what’s at stake comes from the founder of the principal liberal advocacy group that supports the Obama/Wheeler regulations, from an interview he gave several years ago with a Canadian socialist website called The Bullet.
“At the moment, the battle over network neutrality is not to completely eliminate the telephone and cable companies. We are not at that point yet,” Free Press founder and current board member Robert McChesney said. “But the ultimate goal is to get rid of the media capitalists in the phone and cable companies and to divest them from control.”
“Today’s vote at the FCC is a key step back from Free Press’s goal of a government-controlled Internet,” Phil Kerpen said. “The FCC should consider it confirmation that they are doing the right thing for economic freedom that Free Press and its fellow travelers were yelling and screaming outside the FCC as today’s vote was taking place.”
By Phil Kerpen
President Trump was elected to reverse the massive regulatory power grabs of the Obama administration and, in the words of chief strategist Steve Bannon, to deconstruct the administrative state.
Success would mark the reversal of a century-long trend of Americans being stripped of the authority to make our own decisions about how to take care of ourselves, our families, our homes, and our businesses at the whim of self-styled experts – the technocrats, bureaucrats, university professors, and other elites.
Now the pendulum finally is swinging back towards individual freedom.
President Trump has signed 13 resolutions pursuant to the Congressional Review Act (CRA) that overturn specific, individual Obama regulations and bar agencies from ever promulgating a substantially similar regulation without express congressional authorization.
Some of the most significant regulations overturned via CRA include:
· the outrageous Stream Buffer Rule that Office of Surface Mining personnel were caught on tape telling contractors was designed to be “atomic” for coal production in Appalachia;
· a gun control measure adopted by the Social Security Administration that would have blocked gun purchases by anyone with a mental health condition that requires assistance in their collection of financial benefits;
· HHS rules prohibiting states from disqualifying abortion providers from Medicaid and Title X taxpayer funding;
· the “blacklisting” rule that would have potentially barred companies from federal contracting based on unproven accusations of labor law violations;
· and the much-maligned by fake news FCC privacy rule that was actually designed to protect Google and Facebook’s domination of online advertising by effectively banning phone and cable companies from running their own online advertising platforms.
Each of the regulations overturned was significant in its own right, but even more notable was the fact that this law, which had only successfully been used once since it passed back in 1996, has been used 13 times in 100 days – exercising a badly atrophied muscle in Congress for reviewing and overturning individual regulations.
The Congressional Review Act mechanism is limited by law to regulations adopted at the very end of the Obama administration, so President Trump also moved aggressively on other tracks to reverse the major regulatory abuses beyond its reach.
The Department of Transportation is moving to take back its authority over the Corporate Average Fuel Economy program from the EPA and California and to dial back impossible requirements imposed by Obama that go far beyond what was actually authorized by statute.
The Department of Labor has delayed the compliance date and begun a process that could rescind its so-called Fiduciary Rule, which imposes over $30 billion in costs and would deny investors their own choice of investment adviser by driving many small, independent providers out of business.
The FCC – under Trump-designated chairman Ajit Pai – has already implemented an impressive number of reforms and is beginning the process of reversing one of the tent-poles of Obama’s pen-and-phone agenda: the disastrous 2015 FCC order reducing broadband Internet access from a competitive private market to a...