WASHINGTON – House conservatives have a message for President-elect Donald Trump: Use your first 100 days to scrap regulations on everything from catfish to ceiling fans to the Export-Import Bank.
The House Freedom Caucus wish list, sent by chairman Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., to Trump’s transition team, includes 228 federal regulations to examine or revoke. It’s designed to hold Trump to his pledge to loosen rules on businesses. It’s also certain to trigger partisan fights in Congress.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is on board. “The president-elect has made it clear he’s going to move on as many regulatory changes as he can make as soon as he takes office,” he said this week.
High on the Freedom Caucus’s agenda are ending President Obama’s executive actions protecting undocumented immigrants who arrived as children and ending the Export-Import Bank. The list also calls for undoing the 1905 law that created the Overseas Private Investment Corp. which helps U.S. businesses gain a foothold in emerging markets.
The list also targets First Lady Michelle Obama’s initiative against childhood obesity, rules requiring for-profit colleges to teach employable skills, and regulations intended to make ceiling fans and washing machines more energy efficient. Net neutrality rules that benefit internet content providers over broadband providers also made the list.
The caucus included protections for domestic catfish growers and alcohol transport regulations that hit the kombucha tea industry. It wants the federal rule barring the transport of drinks with more than 0.5 percent alcohol to be revised.
For Wall Street, the group has targeted the new fiduciary rule for advisers on retirement plans, as well as Securities and Exchange Commission and Commodity Futures Trading Commission rules for swaps dealers.
The caucus wants paid sick leave and minimum wage increases for federal contractors to be reversed, along with Obama’s increase in the threshold for overtime pay nationwide.
The group would weaken National School Lunch Program standards that require low salt, whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetables, arguing that “schools are throwing food away that students are not eating.” The change could help such food companies as Pepsi, Kellogg and Minnesota-based Hormel Foods.
To the benefit of the tobacco industry, the group would end rules requiring new per-market approval for cigars and restricting smoking in public housing.
The list included for elimination a spate of regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency, ranging from pollution standards for power plants to ozone reduction rules estimated to cost billions of dollars a year.
In addition, the list proposed the elimination of the renewable fuel standard, the EPA program that requires refiners such as Exxon Mobil and Chevron to use billions of gallons of ethanol and other biofuels.
A slew of Energy Department rules requiring household products to use less electricity would be voided, including new standards for ceiling fans. The once-mundane efficiency requirements have come to be seen by the Tea Party and others as a symbol of government overreach and intrusion.