August 31, 2017
This post first appeared on BillMoyers.com.
Donald Trump and his administration are rolling back a number of regulations and initiatives — as well as cutting offices, budgets and staff — and we’re following it in our “While He Was Tweeting” series. As coverage of Trump’s Twitter feed crowds out these stories, here’s a look at some of what the Trump administration has been up to so far. Our team has not been able to cover everything, but we’re doing our best, and we appreciate your input. Be sure to let us know what you think on the BillMoyers.com Facebook page.
Dismantling post-Great Recession Financial Crisis Protections
The Trump administration is looking to dismantle many of the protections put into place after the 2008 financial crisis, including the Dodd-Frank reforms and the Elizabeth Warren-created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Withdrawing from the Paris Agreement
In June, Trump pulled the US out of the Paris Agreement on climate change. In doing so, the US joined Syria and Nicaragua as the only two countries not participating in the agreement.
Slashing Jobs at the Environmental Protection Agency
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), headed by fossil fuel ally Scott Pruitt, plans to cut over 1,200 jobs by September. And in a blow to the integrity of the science used by government agencies, the EPA dismissed nearly all of the members of its Board of Scientific Counselors.
The administration also closed the Office of International Climate and Technology, which worked on clean energy projects with other countries.
Delaying Protection from Pollutants
The EPA proposed delaying for two years an Obama-era rule that would have cracked down on pollutants from drilling operations that contribute to climate change and endanger people’s health.
Letting Women and Girls Down
President Trump reportedly plans to let the White House Council on Women and Girls go dark citing budget cuts and redundancies. The office, established to monitor policy changes and collaborate with women’s groups, is untenanted while the administration considers its future status, according to Politico.
The administration also announced this week that they will scrap a rule aimed at preventing pay discrimination.
Gutting Teen Pregnancy Prevention Programs
The Trump administration is completely defunding the nationwide Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program, cutting $213 million in assistance that supports roughly 1.2 million teenagers across the country.
Also, the administration recently removed a 2014 report on sexual violence from the White House website entitled “Rape And Sexual Assault: Renewed Call To Action.”
Relaxing Media Ownership Rules
President Trump’s Federal Communications Commission is clearing the way for a merger between Sinclair Broadcasting and Tribune Media, two television companies that together own hundreds of local news stations. Just months ago the move would have been illegal.
Cutting Infrastructure Jobs
The Obama-era Local Labor Hiring Preference Pilot Program aimed to help urban and rural workers find good-paying industrial and infrastructure jobs in their home areas. The program had already led to the creation of “thousands of new, high-wage transportation and construction jobs in some of the nation’s most depressed local labor markets.” It’s been disbanded.
Killing Initiative on Infrastructure Designed for Climate Change
Trump and his team overturned an Obama-era rule requiring that infrastructure projects be designed to withstand the consequences of climate change. He has also proposed cuts to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, as well as a number of programs at agencies involved in disaster relief. Though Harvey appears to have initiated a walk-back on some of those particular changes.
Halting Rules on Predatory Lenders and For-Profit Colleges
Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos halted two rules developed under Obama designed to protect college students from predatory lending and dubious for-profit colleges.
Quashing Regulations for a Dangerous Job
The Trump administration rolled back sleep and safety regulations for truck drivers, who have one of the most dangerous jobs in the country.
The administration is also pushing to abandon new federal health monitoring for the use of the toxic metal beryllium in the maritime and construction industry.
Bringing Back Civil Forfeiture (AKA We Can Take Your Money)
Attorney General Jeff Sessions has brought back civil asset forfeiture, which allows police to take away your assets even if you haven’t been convicted of a crime. Former Attorney General Eric Holder had shut down the program in 2015.
Ending Funds to Fight White Supremacy and Hate
The Department of Homeland Security revoked a $400,000 grant made in the waning days of the Obama administration to Life After Hate, which was founded by ex-supremacists to convert those currently embroiled in hate.
Closing Global War Crimes Office — and Cybersecurity Office Too
The Trump administration has plans to close the Office of Global Criminal Justice, which is tasked with supporting international prosecutions for perpetrators of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.
Also, the Office of the Coordinator for Cyber Issues is shutting down and will be incorporated into the State Department’s Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs. The State Department cites redundancies and budget cuts as the reason for the reported change (That is a common refrain in the wrecking ball series).
Cutting Funds for Aids/HIV Prevention
Trump hopes to cut $186 million in the CDC’s funding for HIV/AIDS prevention, testing and support services. Six HIV experts on the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS, quit via a Newsweek op-ed, stating that Trump “simply does not care” and has “no strategy” for addressing the epidemic.
Slashing Refugee Admissions
In the face of the growing refugee crisis President Trump drastically lowered the number of refugees accepted into America to 50,000 this year, a milestone that was reached in July.
Reducing Funds for Health Programs Abroad
Trump signed an executive order to block financial aid for health programs abroad, including those related to AIDS, malaria and child health, that counsel about abortion. The move will restrict nearly $9 billion in foreign health assistance.
Limiting Protection of Beautiful Public Spaces
Before he left office President Obama designated a number of new National Monuments under the authority of the 1906 Antiquities Act. A number of those monuments are facing rollback under the Trump administration. Thus far, none have been eliminated but several are already facing size reductions and usage changes.
If You Still Want More
You can peruse our full “While He Was Tweeting” series but we also recommend some additional places that are keeping a close eye on all the changes afoot. The Washington Post maintains a great graphic explainer of Obama-era rollbacks. For a catalog from abroad try The BBC’s “Trump Tracker” and The Guardian’s excellent compilation of Trump’s effect on the environment. And, The Sunlight Foundation is keeping track of suspected conflicts of interest within the administration.