Congressional Republicans move to dismantle Obama rules

WASHINGTON, Feb 2: Moving to dismantle former President Barack Obama’s legacy on the environment and other issues, House Republicans have approved a measure that scuttles a regulation aimed at preventing coal mining debris from being dumped into nearby streams.
Lawmakers also voted yesterday to rescind a separate rule requiring companies to disclose payments made to foreign governments relating to mining and drilling.
Republicans said the votes were first in a series of actions to reverse years of what they see as excessive government regulation during Obama’s presidency.
Rules on fracking, guns and federal contracting also are in the cross-hairs as the GOP moves to void a host of regulations finalized during Obama’s last months in office.
“Make no mistake about it, this Obama administration rule is not designed to protect streams. Instead, it was an effort to regulate the coal mining industry right out of business,” said Rep Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, who sponsored the disapproval measure on the stream protection rule.
The House approved the measure, 228-194. Nine Republicans voted against repeal, while four Democrats supported it.
Lawmakers approved the financial disclosure measure, 235-187. The rule, which grew out of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial oversight law, was intended to promote transparency so citizens in some of the world’s most impoverished countries can hold their governments accountable for the wealth generated through mining and drilling.
Republicans said the regulation placed an unfair burden on US companies by requiring them to hand over key details of how they bid and compete while many foreign competitors are under no obligation to do the same.
The GOP said the cost of compliance is estimated at USD 590 million a year — money that could be used to help produce more oil, gas and mineral resources.
Rep Carolyn Maloney, D-NY, said the only reason to repeal the disclosure rule was “to help corrupt governments steal money from their people.”
Republicans voted to repeal the Obama-era rules using the Congressional Review Act, an obscure oversight tool that could become more familiar in the coming weeks as Congress uses it to overturn regulations federal agencies issued late in Obama’s presidency.
The law hastens the process for bringing legislation to the floor and removes the hurdle of a 60-vote threshold in the Senate. Regulations imposed since June 13 can be invalidated on a simple majority vote of both GOP-led chambers and the president’s signature.
What’s more, the law prevents the executive branch from imposing substantially similar regulations in the future. (AGENCIES)