Trump tries to make good on promises to roll back Obama-era regulations

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WASHINGTON, D.C. - FEBRUARY 28: President Donald Trump speaks before signing an Executive Order to begin the roll-back of environmental regulations put in place by the Obama administration February 28, 2017 in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, D.C. The Clean Water Rule, also known as WOTUS, the Waters of the U.S. rule, has been unpopular with some farmers, housing developers and energy companies. (Photo by Aude Guerrucci-Pool/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump, looking to make good on his campaign promise to roll back federal regulations, will sign four measures Monday that halt rules enacted during the final days of Barack Obama’s presidency.

With the stroke of his pen, Trump will stop government contractors from having to report labor law violations, scale back federal control on lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management and void rules that looked to set federal standards for teacher training.

Trump campaigned on ending government regulations and signed an executive order in January that looked to scale back government rules by requiring agencies to slash two regulations for every one new rule.

“This isn’t a knock on President Obama,” Trump said in January when he signed the executive order. “This is a knock on many presidents preceding me. It’s a knock on everybody.”

Here is what each new measure will do:

Government contracting
This legislation, HJ Resolution 37, voids an executive order Obama signed in August that looked to protect government contractors by requiring employers to disclose labor law violations, including wage theft, unsafe working conditions and hiring discrimination.

The rollback was sponsored by Rep. Virginia Foxx, a North Carolina Republican who argued the rule had the potential to blacklist some government contractors.

Foxx said that the rule allowed the Labor Department to deny business to contractors based on “alleged” violations.

“Under this rule, bureaucrats can determine employers are guilty until proven innocent and then deny them the ability to do business with the federal government,” Foxx said.

The White House said in a February statement that Trump intended to sign the bill.

“The administration strongly supports the actions taken by the House to begin to nullify unnecessary regulations imposed on America’s businesses,” read the statement of administration policy.

Western lands
This bill, HJ Resolution 44, sponsored by Wyoming Republican Rep. Liz Cheney, looks to halt an Obama administration plan for the millions of aces managed by the Bureau of Land Management, especially those concentrated in the Western United States.

The plan was drawn up, the bureau said in December, in an attempt to use more data when deciding whether to allow logging, mining and other commercial uses on federal land. It also looked to reduce the amount of time required to decide what to do with federal lands.

“Under the current system, it takes an average of eight years for the BLM to finish a land use plan,” Bureau of Land Management Director Neil Kornze said in December. “This update to our planning rule allows for a more streamlined process that also increases collaboration and transparency.”

Critics of the rule — known at “Planning 2.0” — said the rules would minimize local input in land management and stymie public comment, while giving the federal government more authority on what to do with the space.

“Planning 2.0 dilutes local and state voices and centralizes power here in Washington, DC,” Rep. Rob Bishop, a Utah Republican, said in a speech about the plan.

The White House signaled in February that it intended to approve the bill to void the Obama-era rule.

“Given its regional approach to planning, the administration believes the rule does not adequately serve the State and local communities’ interests and could potentially dilute their input in planning decisions,” the statement said.

Education rules
These bills, HJ Resolutions 57 and 58, nullify education rules outlined by the Obama administration near the end of 2016 that Republicans argued took control out of the hands of states and localities while also burdening states with requirements on data collection and teacher training.

The White House signaled in February that Trump planned to sign both Republican-backed measures.

“While school accountability is important, the administration is committed to local control of education and this rule places additional burden on states and constrains them in areas where the ESSA intended broad flexibility,” the White House said in their statement.

The Obama administration said at the time that both the rules would push the United States education system past former President George W. Bush’s “No Child Left Behind” education reform bill.

The new rules would “move beyond No Child Left Behind’s reliance on a limited range of metrics” for schools and provide more metrics for “school success, including academic outcomes, student progress and school quality.”

Trump signaled during the 2016 campaign that he wanted states to have more control in how they structure their education system and the two laws look to do just that.

“The purpose of the resolution under consideration is simple: Reining in the federal role in education and protecting the state and local control promised to students, parents, and education leaders,” Rep. Brett Guthrie, a Texas Republican, said about the bill he sponsored to roll back the rule.

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