Not many people talk about this but . . . given all the promises made during the campaign, and with one party controlling legislative and executive branches, you’d think a lot would be getting done, legislatively. Actually, no.
If you want to count the number of bills that went through the currently elected Congress and were signed by Trump, to date, that’s 33 bills. Yep, 33.
Of those 33, about 1/3 are just fluff. By that I mean, there’s no broad legal impact for Americans. Here’s the kind of things I mean.
Congress passed, and the POTUS signed, 3 items naming citizen regents to the Board of Regents at the Smithsonian. Please that all 3 are men.
Sponsor: Sen. John Boozman [R-AR]Introduced: Mar 8, 2017Enacted — Signed by the President: Apr 19, 2017Roger W. Ferguson, Jr is an American economist, who was Vice Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System from 1999 to 2006. He’s African-American, so at least some diversity there.
Sponsor: Sen. John Boozman [R-AR]Introduced: Mar 8, 2017Enacted — Signed by the President: Apr 19, 2017Mike Govan is the current director of the LA County Museum of Art. Okay so that’s at least related to art or science or history.
Sponsor: Sen. David Perdue [R-GA]Introduced: Mar 2, 2017Enacted — Signed by the President: Apr 19, 2017Steve Case, the AOL founder guy.
Sponsor: Rep. Mike Kelly [R-PA3]Introduced: Jan 23, 2017Enacted — Signed by the President: Mar 13, 2017
Sponsor: Rep. Aumua Amata [R-AS0]Introduced: Mar 6, 2017Enacted — Signed by the President: Mar 31, 2017
Then there’s a pair of bills that basically say women should be encouraged to pursue science, that thing the POTUS hates, but there’s zero funding attached. These are encourage women as a “concept”. It’s basically saying “Hey, you’re a girl. You should try science.”
H.R. 255: Promoting Women in Entrepreneurship Act
Sponsor: Rep. Elizabeth Esty [D-CT5]Introduced: Jan 4, 2017Enacted — Signed by the President: Feb 28, 2017Authorizes the National Science Foundation (NSF) to encourage its existing entrepreneurial programs to recruit and support women to extend their focus beyond the laboratory and into the commercial world.
Sponsor: Rep. Barbara Comstock [R-VA10]Introduced: Jan 5, 2017Enacted — Signed by the President: Feb 28, 2017Requires NASA to develop a plan for facilitating and supporting retired astronauts, scientists, engineers, and innovators to engage with K-12 female STEM students in an attempt to inspire young women to consider participating in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics and to pursue careers in aerospace.
Sponsor: Sen. Patrick “Pat” Toomey [R-PA]Introduced: Feb 3, 2017Enacted — Signed by the President: Mar 28, 2017A bill to amend title 4, United States Code, to encourage the display of the flag of the United States on National Vietnam War Veterans Day.
S.J.Res. 1: A joint resolution approving the location of a memorial to commemorate and honor the members of the Armed Forces who served on active duty in support of Operation Desert Storm or Operation Desert Shield.Sponsor: Sen. John Boozman [R-AR]Introduced: Jan 3, 2017Enacted — Signed by the President: Mar 31, 2017This joint resolution approves the location within Washington, DC and the surrounding area of the National Desert Storm and Desert Shield Memorial authorized to be established under the Carl Levin and Howard P. `Buck’ McKeon National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015.
Sponsor: Rep. Tom Emmer [R-MN6]Introduced: Jan 13, 2017Enacted — Signed by the President: May 8, 2017This bill expresses the sense of Congress that the United States should rejoin the Bureau of International Expositions (BIE) to promote public diplomacy, global branding, and tourism to the United States.
Sponsor: Rep. Seth Moulton [D-MA6]Introduced: Jan 4, 2017Enacted — Signed by the President: May 16, 2017Requires the General Services Administration (GSA) to implement regulations allowing federal employees to use alternative transportation options such as Uber, Lyft, and bike-share for official travel. The GSA Administrator would be required to submit annual reports to Congress on the implementation of these regulations and the resulting amount of government savings.
Sponsor: Rep. Francis Rooney [R-FL19]Introduced: Feb 7, 2017Enacted — Signed by the President: Apr 13, 2017This is all about letting “financial services / banks” rob retirees.
H.J.Res. 67 disapproves and nullifies the rule issued by the Department of Labor on August 30, 2016, establishing a “safe harbor” from the Employee Retirement Income Security Act for government-run IRAs managed by states and certain political subdivisions for private sector workers.
Under the final rule, cities and large political subdivisions will not have to comply with the fiduciary oversight and other protections of ERISA that ensure that workers’ savings are available to provide a secure retirement.
H.J.Res. 43: Providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the final rule submitted by Secretary of Health and Human Services relating to compliance with title X requirements by project recipients in selectingSponsor: Rep. Diane Black [R-TN6]Introduced: Jan 30, 2017Enacted — Signed by the President: Apr 13, 2017Under Obama, Health and Human Services issued a ruling that prevented states from withholding federal funds for “family-planning services,” of which by far the largest and most prominent one is Planned Parenthood.It was scheduled to go into effect on January 18, two days before Trump became president, but was blocked by Texas federal judge Reed O’Connor before it could be officially implemented. However, it remained possible that ruling could still be reversed on appeal.Rep. Diane Black (R-TN6) in the House and Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) in the Senate, introduced this bill to legislatively overturn the Obama measure and allow states to withhold federal Planned Parenthood funding to clinics in their states.In other words, this is designed to kill access to abortion.
H.J.Res. 69: Providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the final rule of the Department of the Interior relating to “Non-Subsistence Take of Wildlife, and Public Participation and Closure Procedures, on NaSponsor: Rep. Don Young [R-AK0]Introduced: Feb 7, 2017Enacted — Signed by the President: Apr 3, 2017
H.J.Res. 69 would nullify the rule issued by the Department of the Interior on August 5, 2016, amending regulations for National Wildlife Refuges in Alaska that govern predator control and public participation and closure procedures.
Reversing this law is about allowing people to kill animals on National Wildlife Refuge lands in horrible ways for sport basically. So, specifically,
- Killing black or brown bear cubs or mothers with cubs;
- Killing brown bears over bait;
- Killing of bears using traps or snares;
- Killing of wolves and coyotes during the denning season (May 1-August 9); and
- Killing bears from an aircraft or on the same day as air travel has occurred. The take of wolves or wolverines from an aircraft or on the same day as air travel has occurred is already prohibited under current refuge regulations.
H.J.Res. 83: Disapproving the rule submitted by the Department of Labor relating to “Clarification of Employer’s Continuing Obligation to Make and Maintain an Accurate Record of Each Recordable Injury and Illness”.Sponsor: Rep. Bradley Byrne [R-AL1]Introduced: Feb 21, 2017Enacted — Signed by the President: Apr 3, 2017This joint resolution nullifies the Department of Labor’s rule that was published on December 19, 2016, about employers’ ongoing obligation to make and maintain records of work-related injuries and illnesses.The GOP wants employers to be able to duck responsibility for workplace injury and illness.
S.J.Res. 34: A joint resolution providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the rule submitted by the Federal Communications Commission relating to “Protecting the Privacy of Customers of Broadband and OtherSponsor: Sen. Jeff Flake [R-AZ]Introduced: Mar 7, 2017Enacted — Signed by the President: Apr 3, 2017There was a law coming into effect that would have guaranteed your privacy on the web. The GOP decided you didn’t need that.Sponsor: Rep. Kevin Brady [R-TX8]Introduced: Jan 30, 2017Enacted — Signed by the President: Mar 31, 2017This new law allows drug testing for people applying for Unemployment benefits or food stamps. Because the GOP thinks all people who have recently lost jobs or who are poor must be drug addicts.
H.J.Res. 57: Providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the rule submitted by the Department of Education relating to accountability and State plans under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965.Sponsor: Rep. Todd Rokita [R-IN4]Introduced: Feb 1, 2017Enacted — Signed by the President: Mar 27, 2017
H.J.Res. 57 would disapprove and nullify the rule issued by the Department of Education on November 28, 2016, to implement the accountability, data reporting, and state plan provisions of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).
The bill’s sponsors feel that we don’t need accountablity, or data reports, or plans to help students succeed. You should just believe the state when they say your child is being well educated. Given that studies show time and again that the more education you have the less likely you are to vote GOP, I guess the GOP doesn’t want students succeeding.Sponsor: Rep. Brett Guthrie [R-KY2]Introduced: Feb 1, 2017Enacted — Signed by the President: Mar 27, 2017
H.J.Res. 58, would disapprove and nullify the rule issued by the Department of Education on October 31, 2016, imposing new standards on teacher education and preparation. The rule to be nullified establishes definitions and requirements for states and institutions of higher education to develop measures for assessing teacher preparation performance and establishes indicators states must use to report on program performance
Because everyone wants stupid, unprepared teachers for their kids, right?
H.J.Res. 37: Disapproving the rule submitted by the Department of Defense, the General Services Administration, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration relating to the Federal Acquisition Regulation.
Sponsor: Rep. Virginia Foxx [R-NC5]Introduced: Jan 30, 2017Enacted — Signed by the President: Mar 27, 2017
This is what the law they are doing away with would have done for workers
First, it requires prospective federal contractors to disclose compliance information with 14 federal labor laws and state equivalents to the government. Agency contracting officers are then required to take these disclosures into consideration when awarding contracts.
Second, the rule imposes requirements for “paycheck transparency”. Contractors required to maintain wage records under the Fair Labor Standards Act, Service Contract Act, or substantially similar state laws, must provide documentation of “hours worked, overtime hours, pay, and additions to or deductions from pay” in each pay period.
Third, the rule limits the mandatory arbitration of employee claims by requiring government contracts and subcontracts valued over $1 million to incorporate clauses stating that employees must voluntarily consent to arbitration of these claims.
Proving once again the GOP could care less about workers, this disappoval allows abuse of workers, wage theft from workers, and then stops employees from reporting those crimes.
H.J.Res. 44: Disapproving the rule submitted by the Department of the Interior relating to Bureau of Land Management regulations that establish the procedures used to prepare, revise, or amend land use plans pursuant to the Federal Land Policy and ManageSponsor: Rep. Liz Cheney [R-WY0]Introduced: Jan 30, 2017Enacted — Signed by the President: Mar 27, 2017Liz Cheney, as in Dick’s daughter, yes. Her great ides was to Disapprove and nullify the rule issued by the Department of the Interior on December 12, 2016, to establish the procedures used to prepare, revise, or amend land use plans pursuant to the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA).The final rule, known as Planning 2.0, completely overhauls existing resource management regulations. Who wouldn’t want that? The GOPThe GOP objected to the law, they said “because it would have allowed any member of the public to have the same level of input as states and localities at the beginning of the planning process, regardless of the accuracy of their science or feasibility of their proposals.”In other words, they were afraid of the public having an opinion, at the beginning stage of the planning process, because citizen’s science might be bad. Uh, okay. But then the GOP went on to say,
“Planning 2.0 would also have directed the BLM to do landscape-scale planning, potentially stretching the areas considered in plans across BLM Districts and state lines.” The GOP said they were “concerned that would have undermined local voices and moved important decision-making authorities away from local BLM officials.”So, they don’t want local people to say anything about the planning, but they’re concerned local voices will be undermined? WTF?
H.J.Res. 40: Providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the rule submitted by the Social Security Administration relating to Implementation of the NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007.Sponsor: Rep. Sam Johnson [R-TX3]Introduced: Jan 30, 2017Enacted — Signed by the President: Feb 28, 2017Disproved the rule, that wasn’t to come into effect until December 2017, that people buying guns had to be checked against the SSA database to see if they were receiving disability payments for being mentally ill or were listed as incompetent to handle there own financial affairs.In other words, If your mind is so badly effected you can’t be trusted to write a check, you should still be able to have a gun. That’s going to make people safer, sure.
Sponsor: Rep. Bill Johnson [R-OH6]Introduced: Jan 30, 2017Enacted — Signed by the President: Feb 16, 2017
Disapproved of the rule submitted by the Department of Interior known as the Stream Protection Rule which attempted to reduce the environmental impact of coal mining. The law being abolished would have established a buffer zone rule blocking mining within 100 feet of streams, and imposed stricter policies that required companies to restore land to pre-mining conditions.
The rule also required operators to collect data about the site of any proposed operations, as well as adjacent areas, before beginning mining to establish a baseline for measuring impact of mining activities.
Additionally, the rule adjusted monitoring requirements to allow for the rapid detection and correction of any problems in the quality or quantity of surface and groundwater, and looked to ensure that mine operators and regulatory agencies use the most current science and technology.
These adjustments were made through the alteration of 475 individual regulations enforced through the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act.
The GOP decided no one needs clean water, especially people who live in coal country. They don’t want records about the operations, or the pollution, because then a mining company might have to pay money to clean up the mess and really, isn’t that why we have govt superfunds? So we can push the burden of coal mining’s pollution off on the public?
H.J.Res. 41: Providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of a rule submitted by the Securities and Exchange Commission relating to “Disclosure of Payments by Resource Extraction Issuers”.Sponsor: Rep. Bill Huizenga [R-MI2]Introduced: Jan 30, 2017Enacted — Signed by the President: Feb 14, 2017The law repeals an Obama-era rule requiring publicly traded companies to disclose payments (aka bribes) by “resource extraction issuers” — such as those for oil, minerals, and natural gas — during the negotiation of the business contracts if those payments exceed $100,000 in a year.
Repealing the rule makes business dealings more opaque, even as the consequences might have influences from corruption to the destroying the environment.
Corruption and mismanagement of extractive resources impedes economic growth, reduces opportunities for U.S. trade and investment, diverts critically-needed funding from social services and other government activities, and contributes to instability and conflict.
Okay now we get into bills about funding the government. The first funded the govt till May 5. The second worked out the funding of the govt through Sept, but weirdly, it started life as a veterans bill and retains that aspect.
Sponsor: Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen [R-NJ11]Introduced: Apr 26, 2017Enacted — Signed by the President: Apr 28, 2017This bill extended federal government funding through May 5, 2017. It was enacted on the day funding was to end. The federal government is currently funded through “continuing appropriations” legislation that maintains government spending levels as they were for arbitrary periods of time.Traditionally, though not recently, the federal government was funded by major funding legislation for a whole fiscal year at a time. If an appropriations law is not enacted before the last one lapses, non-critical federal government functions shut down.
Sponsor: Rep. Paul Cook [R-CA8]Introduced: Jan 4, 2017Enacted — Signed by the President: May 5, 2017
In May 2017, this bill became the vehicle for passage of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2017, the bill that would fund the government for the remainder of fiscal year 2017, that is, through the end of September 2017.
Prior to becoming the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017, this bill was the Honoring Investments in Recruiting and Employing American Military Veterans Act of 2017. The summary below is from the Republican Policy Committee:
H.R. 244, as amended, would require the Department of Labor (DOL) to establish the HIRE Vets Medallion Program, within two years of enactment, to annually recognize private and public sector businesses for their efforts to employ veterans.
DOL would make awards to employers, on a voluntary basis, who recruit, employ, and retain veterans; and provide community and charitable services supporting the veteran community.
Employers would earn either platinum or gold status based on requirements related to the number of veterans hired each year, if they provide pay equity for Guardsmen and Reserve employees who were called up to active military service, and if certain other requirements are met.
Beginning two fiscal years after the program is established, the bill would require DOL to assess fees on employers that apply to the program to cover the complete costs of the program. Those fees would be available without further appropriation to operate the program.
In case you weren’t following the logic, the DOL wants to give awards to employers who volunteer to hire veterans and provide charitable services to the veteran community. After 2 years, the DOL would make those employers — who voluntarily hired veterans — pay the program, which does nothing but gives out recognition awards for voluntarily hiring veterans. WTF?
Sponsor: Sen. Jon Tester [D-MT]Introduced: Mar 7, 2017Enacted — Signed by the President: Apr 19, 2017
(Sec. 1) This bill amends the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014 to eliminate the August 7, 2017, sunset date for the Veterans Choice Program, thus allowing the program to operate until all of the money in the Veterans Choice Fund is expended.
(Sec. 2) The bill makes the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) the primary payer (currently the VA is the secondary payer) for medical care relating to non-service connected disabilities and recovery of costs from third parties for certain care under the program.
(Sec. 3) The VA may share medical information with a non-VA entity (including private entities and other federal agencies) that provides veterans with authorized hospital care or medical services. Such entity may not redisclose or use such information for a purpose other than that for which the disclosure was made.
Sponsor: Rep. Frank Lucas [R-OK3]Introduced: Jan 6, 2017Enacted — Signed by the President: Apr 18, 2017H.R. 353 improves the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to focus on affordable and attainable advances in observational, computing, and modeling capabilities in an effort to deliver substantial improvement in weather forecasting and prediction of high impact weather events, such as those associated with hurricanes, tornadoes, droughts, floods, storm surges, and wildfires.
Sponsor: Rep. Gregg Harper [R-MS3]Introduced: Feb 27, 2017Enacted — Signed by the President: Apr 3, 2017The “and other purposes” is a really convoluted scheme to extend how long these folks are in office.
The Office of Compliance (OOC) was established by the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995 to administer and enforce that Act and to assist Members of Congress in understanding their rights and responsibilities under workplace and accessibility laws.
This bill provides that
of the three members appointed to the Board of Directors of the OOC to replace the three members whose terms expire in March 2017, one shall have a three-year term and two shall have a four-year term.
The board members appointed to replace the two members whose terms expire in May 2017 shall each have a five-year term.
This bill allows a board member whose term expires in:
(1) March 2017 to be reappointed to serve one additional three or four-year term, and (Barbara Childs Wallace, Susan Robfogel get to stay till April 2021, 4 yrs; while Alan Friedman is out in 3 yrs, in April 2020)
(2) May 2017 to be reappointed to serve an additional five-year term.
(Barbara L. Camens & Roberta L. Holzwarth stay 5 yrs till May 2022)
Such board members may not be reappointed to any additional terms after their additional term expires.
The bill amends the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995 to:
(1) permit a board member to serve after his or her term has expired until a successor has taken office; and
(2) authorize the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Majority Leader of the Senate, and the Minority Leaders of the House and Senate to take such steps as they consider appropriate to ensure the timely appointment of board members consistent with such Act’s requirements.
Sponsor: Sen. Ted Cruz [R-TX]Introduced: Feb 17, 2017Enacted — Signed by the President: Mar 21, 2017
- Reaffirming a January decision by the Obama administration to continue American involvement with the International Space Station through 2024.
- Guaranteeing free lifetime healthcare for astronauts.
- Resurrecting the National Space Council, a governmental body that hasn’t existed since 1993, (in other words, the council would be established within the Executive Office of the President of the United States, and focus on human space exploration and the augmented use of public-private partnership.)
While all this sounds good on the surface, there’s a reason the NSC died in 1993. It doesn’t work. Also, as Neil De Grasse Tyson pointed out, there’s also the removal of Earth monitoring from NASA’s mission. In other words, those pesky photos of glaciers melting can disappear. This bill is about killing off global scientific monitoring of the earth and endeavors that will protect and preserve the earth, as well as privatizing for corporate profit benefit space.
S. 496: A bill to repeal the rule issued by the Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Transit Administration entitled “Metropolitan Planning Organization Coordination and Planning Area Reform”.Sponsor: Sen. Tammy Duckworth [D-IL]Introduced: Mar 2, 2017Enacted — Signed by the President: May 12, 2017S. 496 repeals the Metropolitan Planning Organization Coordination and Planning Area Reform rule. On December 20, 2016, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and Federal Transit Administration (FTA) issued the final rule ‘‘Metropolitan Planning Organization Coordination and Planning Area Reform’’ (81 Fed. Reg. 93448). This rule was really unpopular.
Sponsor: Rep. Buddy Carter [R-GA1]Introduced: Jan 3, 2017Enacted — Signed by the President: Jan 31, 2017
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent government agency that analyzes and investigates federal expenditures. They often produce reports known as “blue books” that analyze congressional spending policies and make recommendations, as well as perform policy analyses and audit federal agencies.
The law is short. Its primary change allows the GAO to obtain federal agency records, for purposes of audit or investigation. And if an agency or department still refuses to cooperate, the law makes it easier for the GAO to file a civil action in court to obtain the records or documents.
The law also allows the GAO access to the federal National Directory of New Hires, which it had been blocked from accessing for years. And this is the real point of the bill.
This about the GOP being able develop lists of names about all sorts of things such as who is on unemployment insurance, has student loans, who gets food stamps, etc, etc. In other words, it’s about targeting certain groups of people.
S. 84: A bill to provide for an exception to a limitation against appointment of persons as Secretary of Defense within seven years of relief from active duty as a regular commissioned officer of the Armed Forces.Sponsor: Sen. John McCain [R-AZ]Introduced: Jan 10, 2017Enacted — Signed by the President: Jan 20, 2017
Secretary of Defense James Mattis, appointed on President Trump’s first day in office, was a four-star Marine general. Mattis’s recent service upends the traditional separation where the Defense Secretary — the official in charge of the Pentagon and most of the American military — is a non-uniformed civilian, while the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is the the nation’s top-ranking military official.
To maintain that separation, Congress passed a law decades ago stipulating that nobody can serve as Defense Secretary within seven years after leaving the service. Mattis has only been out of the service for just shy of four years.
A law enacted on the President’s first day in office, S. 84, granted Mattis a waiver from the law.
If you made it this far, congratulations, you’re up on all the new laws the POTUS has created. But if you really want to know what’s being changed in govt, read the Federal Register. That’s where a lot of stuff goes down.
There’s an enormous amount of “delaying” of good final rules for a year or two to keep them from coming into effect when they should have because suddenly the GOP needs more “opinions and public comment.” Then there’s other things being pushed through that are clearly bad and public opinion is being purposefully cut off.
In California 50 agricultural workers were poisoned by a chemical that should have been removed from use, that would have been removed from use, had the EPA under Pruitt decided to extend the period of use stating “emergencies” which don’t exist. It’s strictly about the GOP funneling money to chemical corporations, which are donors, instead of protecting the people.
The science said this was bad stuff. The final rule was set to take effect. The only reason this people were poisoned was the GOP’s greed. Oh, and by the way, that stuff that poisoned 50 people, they’re spraying that on your produce. Because the GOP doesn’t care if you sicken and die, so long as their donors get paid.
And, just so you know, several other chemicals sprayed on your food were going to be banned as well, but the EPA under Pruitt said they can all still be used. If you were ever thinking of buying organic foods, now would be the time.