Beware this Trifecta of Corporate Corruption from GOP Congress

As the Republican Congress sat on the verge of passing yet another piece of legislation to cripple the ability of the federal government to protect Americans from environmental pollution, workplace hazards, and unsafe consumer products, U.S. Representative Bobby Scott reviewed the threat. It wasn’t just the Regulatory Accountability Act, the single piece of legislation being considered yesterday, that endangered the federal protections that keep hundreds of millions of Americans from exposure to harmful and even deadly substances, but a larger agenda, administered through three separate bills. Scott explained, “Over the past 2 weeks, the majority has considered three bills on the House floor designed to undermine the ability of the executive branch to implement essential economic and public health protections for the people we have the honor to represent: the so-called Midnight Rules Relief Act, which could retroactively disallow rules issued as far back as June of last year; the REINS Act, which requires a majority vote of both Houses of Congress before any major rule can go into effect; and today’s Regulatory Accountability Act, which is an 82-page omnibus bill which would effectively tie the executive branch into so much red tape that environmental, workplace, and consumer protections might never see the light of day.”

It’s essential, in understanding the advance of Donald Trump’s iron grip over American government, to remember that his program of pro-corporate fascism is being implemented through congressional actions. The three pieces of legislation Bobby Scott named yesterday are at the core of Donald Trump’s agenda allowing big business to take over Washington DC by crippling the federal agencies that are supposed to stand between raw corporate power and the American people.

Come to grips with these bills, and you’ll begin to perceive one of the more insidious ways in which the Trumpists are depriving Americans of a government of the people, by the people, for the people. It all comes down to this: If federal agencies can’t make rules to apply the laws on the books, then the laws that protect Americans from corporate abuse become meaningless.

To learn about the Midnight Rules Relief Act, we recommend this article from Irregular News.

To learn about the REINS Act, we recommend this article from Americans United Against Trump.

To learn about the Regulatory Accountability Act, we recommend this article from Irregular Times.

Republican Congress Votes To Do To America What Rick Snyder Did To Flint, Michigan

michigan lead pollution REINS Act

Last year, the nation watched in shock and outrage as revelations emerged about the way that Michigan Governor Rick Snyder purposefully cut corners in his administration of the city of Flint, allowing the city’s population to be exposed to extremely dangerous levels of lead in the drinking water in order to make it appear that he was being a fiscal hawk.

What we couldn’t have imagined even a few months ago is that the entire United States would soon be made vulnerable to the same kind of toxic neglect. Yet, that’s exactly what’s happening, thanks to Donald Trump and the new Republican Congress.

Last week, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 26, the REINS Act, and the Senate is planning to do the same. Donald Trump has pledged to support the bill, saying, “I will sign the REINS Act should it reach my desk as President and more importantly I will work hard to get it passed.”

What the REINS Act does is to block federal measures that protect Americans from toxic substances and dangerous workplace environments. Under the REINS Act, the Republican Congress declares that no new protections for American communities, families, workers, and children can take place, and it will only be open to considering those protections on one day per month. If Congress simply does nothing, all new efforts to protect Americans from dangerous substances and situations will simply wither away automatically within 70 days.

Obviously, the REINS Act is designed to sabotage federal protections for American communities like Flint, Michigan.

Could an exception have been made in the law for extreme circumstances, to allow protection from lead poisoning in drinking water, for example?

U.S. Representative John Conyers tried that. He offered an amendment to the REINS Act that would have allowed for protections against lead contamination to go forward. The House Republicans refused to pass the amendment.

What’s more, every one of the congressional Republicans from Michigan voted against protecting Americans from the kind of lead poisoning that took place in Flint, Michigan. Those GOP Michiganders were: Tim Walberg, Fred Upton, David Trott, John Moolenar, Paul Mitchell, Bill Huizenga, Mike Bishop, Jack Bergman, and Justin Amash.

The crisis began in Michigan, but thanks to the REINS Act, we are all living in Flint now.

Trump’s GOP Congress Votes To Block Protections To Keep American Babies Safe

GOP Angry Elephant Hurts Babies

OK, we all know that Americans are supposed to be divided upon political lines, but there are some things we can all agree upon, right?

Let’s take babies, for example. We can all agree that babies should be protected from dangerous things, can’t we?

No, apparently we can’t all agree on that.

It sounds like something only a cartoonishly evil supervillain would do. It’s difficult to believe any actual American politician would do it. Yet, it’s actually just taken place.

This week, Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives voted to obstruct measures that protect babies from deadly hazards in poorly manufactured foods and toys.

The amendment was offered to the REINS Act, H.R. 26, a law proposed by Republicans that would prevent any Executive Branch agency from enacting a new rule in accordance with laws already passed by Congress. The only way a federal rule to protect Americans could be passed under the REINS Act is if Congress authorizes the action a second time, and within 70 days of the proposal of the rule.

Congress almost never does anything within 70 days.

Furthermore, if the REINS Act is signed into law, for every new rule to protect Americans that is created, another rule that protects Americans will have to be destroyed.

The thing is that Congress already has the power to overrule any particular federal law that it regards as inappropriate. What the REINS Act effectively does is to create a blanket ban on any new administrative rule, regardless of whether the rule has merit or not.

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights explains, “Congress has always had the authority to override, clarify, or rewrite the details of administrative actions. But Congress has neither time nor the expertise to micromanage every nuance of regulatory details before they can be allowed to take effect. That is why we have executive branch agencies in the first place.”

When U.S. Representative Sheila Jackson Lee saw this legislation moving forward toward passage in the Republican-controlled Congress, she knew that he couldn’t stop its overall passage. But, she thought, at least we all ought to agree that babies should be protected from harmful and deadly things. She asked her colleague, Hank Johnson, to offer an amendment to the REINS Act on her behalf that would create a special exemption to the REINS Act for executive rules that protect babies.

Johnson took to the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, and made the following remarks: “If protecting public health and safety means anything, it surely must include the protection of our children. Because of the special vulnerability of young children, any regulation affecting their health and safety must not be delayed. Unfortunately, if this bill passes as written without this amendment, that is exactly what will happen. The young children will be vulnerable to products that are unsafe and that could hurt them. For this reason, Sheila Jackson Lee has offered this amendment, which I support.

An example is a regulation that is meant to protect a child from death or injury from contaminated formula. Such a rule would be impeded – or the promulgation of such a rule and the enactment of that rule would be impeded – by this administration.

This amendment would declare that, in that case, the rule would not apply. It would be exempted from this legislation. Toxic chemicals, dangerous toys, or deadly falls from unsafe products could be avoided. Therefore, this amendment would protect children under those circumstances. Those kinds of rules need to be implemented promptly to save lives. For that reason, the Jackson Lee amendment deserves your support. I hope that you can support it out of your heart.”

There wasn’t a single Republican who voted in favor of allowing the government to continue protecting American babies from new threats to their survival and health. Every single American voted against the Johnson amendment.

How can anyone justify such a thing?

How can Donald Trump seriously consider signing such a bill as the REINS Act into law?