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...
This Wednesday, April 26, American Commitment is celebrating World Intellectual Property (IP) Day. Not only are we celebrating this year’s theme – the role that intellectual property rights play in making our lives healthier, safer, and more comfortable – but we are also celebrating recent progress in the House of Representatives on this issue.
Innovation is everywhere – from the cars we drive, to the cell phones we use, to the prescription drugs that help us live better and longer lives. And we believe that, in order for this progress to continue, the rights of creators to own and control their intellectual property must be protected.
For example, according to the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development, the average time and cost of bringing a drug to market today is 10 years and over $2.6 billion. There must be opportunity to recoup those costs and earn a profit so that new cures can continue to be developed. Even Bill Gates said last year that “The drug companies are turning out miracles and we need their R&D budgets to stay strong. They need to see that opportunity.”
Similar stories can be found all around you in nearly every industry. Without the returns to justify research and development, progress on new and innovative items will slow – or even stop.
We have been pleased to see a recent effort in the House of Representatives to focus on ways to protect intellectual property in order to continue encouraging growth and innovation.
We recently wrote about the PROMOTE Act, which would finally give performers input in where their music is played and how they are compensated, rather than allowing the government to dictate these terms with AM/FM radio stations.
Now, we expect to see a House vote on H.R. 1695, the Register of Copyrights Selection and Accountability Act of 2017, on Wednesday – World IP Day.
The US Copyright Office has long been in need of significant upgrades and modernization in order to adequately protect copyright holders, but it also requires significant structural reforms. And last year, when the Register of Copyrights – who favored protecting IP rights – was unceremoniously locked out of her office by the Librarian of Congress and essentially reassigned as a consultant to the Library’s gift shop, we argued that such an important office should be governed by a Presidential appointee, rather than subject to the whims of the Librarian…or other political forces. H.R. 1695 would make that happen and implement other necessary reforms to improve this office’s operations.
On this World IP Day, we are encouraged by a renewed focus on ways to protect intellectual property rights and would urge Congress to support these efforts. Intellectual property intensive industries have enhanced our daily lives in so many ways and they contribute significantly to economic growth and progress.
Photo Credit: A Health Blog...
By Phil Kerpen
For over a decade, professional liberal organizers and agitators – backed by a tidal wave of big liberal foundations and Silicon Valley corporate money – have told a bizarre scare story that without heavy-handed government regulation, Internet service providers (ISPs) will start blocking what websites you can go to and impeding free speech on the Internet. No such thing happened in the approximately two decades that ISPs were unregulated “information services” under the 1996 Telecom Act. Indeed the opposite occurred as robust competition between phone and cable companies – and later wireless companies – drove speeds dramatically higher and consumers benefited from an Internet that innovated beyond our wildest dreams.
Nonetheless, in 2015, ultraliberal advocacy groups (fueled by $196 million from the Soros and Ford Foundations) and Silicon Valley giants like Google (which cycled a shocking 250 personnel through the Obama administration and saw regulating ISPs as a way to guarantee themselves access to below-market rate downstream bandwidth for their YouTube unit) succeeded in getting the FCC to reclassify ISPs as regulated public utilities. This was done under a Depression-era law designed for the old Ma Bell telephone monopoly. Thousands of complaints to potentially micromanage every aspect of the Internet piled up at the FCC Enforcement Bureau and the commission was set to adopt a sweeping new broadband tax to replace the private investment it scared off – with strings attached of course – during a Hillary Clinton administration.
The liberal organizers of the phony net neutrality scare campaign had even bigger plans; Robert McChesney, the founder of Free Press – the group that was cited 46 times in the Obama net neutrality order – openly bragged: “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. But the ultimate goal is to get rid of the media capitalists in the phone and cable companies and to divest them from control.”
If that’s too subtle for you, McChesney also said: “In the end, there is no real answer but to remove brick by brick the capitalist system itself, rebuilding the entire society on socialist principles.”
None of it was meant to be.
The American people elected Donald Trump, and President Trump elevated free-market champion Ajit Pai to be FCC chairman and undo the mischief the Obama FCC had done before it could reach its ultimate goals.
Chairman Pai is soon expected to unveil his plan to undo the Obama order and replace it with a light-touch approach that centers on competition and consumer protection and allows government intervention only when there is actual consumer harm – not just scare stories. And in a refreshing break from the usual pattern of regulators accruing to themselves as much power as possible, the Pai plan will probably relinquish authority from his own agency to the Federal Trade Commission, which has far better expertise in consumer protection and competition issues.