Trump Should Focus On Undoing Obama’s Midnight Regulations

(Photo by Pete Souza/The White House via Getty Images)

Derek Hunter Contributor
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It’s been a tough go for President Donald Trump lately, and by lately I mean since the moment he took the oath of office. He came to town to find a DC establishment angrier that an outsider swept into the highest office in the land. It’s not that he hasn’t gotten anything done, it’s that he hasn’t gotten any of his major campaign promises done. The establishment has afforded him minor victories, but the big ones remain elusive. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot he can and should do on his own. Minor victories are still victories.

While waiting for Republicans in Congress to coalesce on legislation they’ve sworn to voters would be a priority should they regain the White House, Trump is sitting at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue waiting.

Congress did one good thing, however, with the help of the President – they initiated the Congressional Review Act, repealing many midnight regulations President Obama implemented on his way out the door.

As President Trump awaits Congress to actually do things, there is much he can undo on his own.

President Trump has already moved to undo many of Obama’s executive orders, and the courts have undone their share as well. Still, after 8 years of Obama’s “pen and phone,” there are opportunities for Trump to act in ways that will make differences, both big and small.

On the big side there sits the mother of all executive actions – “DREAMers,” illegal aliens brought to this country as children who President Obama allowed to stay and receive federal benefits. It was a temporary action up for renewal soon.

At the end of the Obama administration there was a push by liberals for him to “pardon DREAMers.” Aside from being ridiculous since the crime for which they would’ve been pardoned is ongoing and their very existence in the country, it didn’t happen.

That put the ball firmly in Trump’s lap.

If his campaign rhetoric held, the President would end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA), which created DREAMers. Though his tone has softened of late on the issue.

It’s not a cut and dry issue, in many cases this country is the only place these kids have known. But the fact remains that it would be rewarding illegal behavior if they and their parents were allowed to stay. The law should not be enforced based on emotion, no matter how heart-wrenching that enforcement may be. DACA should end.

On the smaller side, but just as important to the President’s base, is a regulation Obama implemented dealing with workplace safety.

People tend to clench up when the idea of rolling back something labeled “workplace safety” is discussed. That’s not by accident. Saying something is “for safety” or “for the children” is done to serve as a shield against criticism and rarely an actual matter of fact. One Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulation put in place in the last 2 weeks of the Obama administration, it actually does more harm than good and hurts blue collar workers.

The regulation involved Beryllium, a chemical substance used by machinists, welders, and others in construction and ship building, according Te Washington Times.

The construction industry is something the President knows well, and this regulation would have a detrimental impact on this important part of our economy. By setting exposure limits to abrasive blasters in the construction and shipyard industries excessively low, the OSHA rule will drive up costs and harm employers. These industries was originally supposed to be exempted from the regulation because it is so crucial. But the Obama administration reversed course at the last minute and included them.

Associated Builders and Contractors, an industry group, came out strongly against its implementation, and the Trump Administration has responded, removing all of the ancillary provisions from the rule as they relate to construction and maritime work. To that end, the Administration is making good on its pledge to regulate based on science and cost-benefit analyses, not political pressures.

But the new proposed rule, open to public comment until Monday, still contains Obama’s restrictive personal exposure limit for abrasive blasting. This should be removed as well, as there has never been a documented case of beryllium related illness in the abrasive blasting industry.

At the time, OSHA claimed the regulation would prevent dozens of deaths and produce hundreds of millions in economic benefits over time, which would make it almost unique in the history of regulations. The Times noted, however, “neither scientific research findings nor economic analysis were produced to back up the claim. With no research to examine, no studies to vet, and no cost-benefit analysis to analyze, it was impossible to disprove the claims.”

It’s not sexy, but it is important to the people it is important to and those people voted for Trump.

While the President waits for Congress to act there is no reason he can’t do important things, both big and small, that will fulfill his campaign promise to rollback government overreach. What was implemented by executive order can be undone the same way. President Trump can significantly roll back the Obama legacy by using the weapon of choice that put much of it in place – that pen and phone. And he should.