Wed. 3/10: Tell your legislators to remove Trump’s harmful last-minute rules.

(This is a great action from the great folks at IndivisibleSF.)

Minimal call script: I’m calling from [zip code] and I want Rep./Sen. [___] to use your power under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to revoke racist, destructive and corrupt rules from the Trump regime. This is an urgent issue, as I understand you only have 60 legislative days to do this. Please revoke the following:

  1. Independent Contractor Status Under the FLSA
  2. Increasing Consistency and Transparency in Considering Benefits and Costs in the Clean Air Act Rulemaking Process
  3. Fair Access to Financial Services

(Speak slowly, so the staffer can get the names down. Explanations on these rules below.)

Contacts

  • Rep. Julia Brownley: email(CA-26): DC (202) 225-5811, Oxnard (805) 379-1779, T.O. (805) 379-1779
  • or Rep. Salud Carbajal: email.(CA-24): DC (202) 225-3601, SB (805) 730-1710 SLO (805) 546-8348
  • Senator Feinstein: email, DC (202) 224-3841, LA (310) 914-7300, SF (415) 393-0707, SD (619) 231-9712, Fresno (559) 485-7430
  • and Senator Padilla: email, DC (202) 224-3553, LA (310) 231-4494, SAC (916) 448-2787, Fresno (559) 497-5109, SF (415) 981-9369, SD (619) 239-3884 (Updated contacts still in-progress.)
  • Who is my representative/senator?: https://whoismyrepresentative.com

More information on these rules.

  1. Independent Contractor Status Under the FLSA (Docket# 2020-29274). This Department of Labor rule is clearly designed to make it easier for corporations to evade minimum wage, overtime, and benefit laws like paid leave and healthcare by either replacing or reclassifying employees as “independent contractors.” Harmful to workers, it’s a straight-up give-away to “Gig Economy” companies like Uber and InstaCart who classify their workers as freelancers.
  2. Increasing Consistency and Transparency in Considering Benefits and Costs in the Clean Air Act Rulemaking Process (Docket# 2020-27368). This new Environmental Protection Agency rule makes it harder to justify air pollution limits, regulations, and orders by prohibiting the EPA from taking into account significant health and environmental benefits. “This rule will distort EPA’s assessment of the benefits of Clean Air Act safeguards, making it harder to establish vital, life-saving protections against unhealthy air pollution,” said EDF senior attorney Ben Levitan. “The rule puts Americans’ health at risk for no good reason. The incoming Biden administration should immediately take steps to reverse this rule.
  3. Fair Access to Financial Services (Docket# 2020-26067). On the pretext of prevent banks from discriminating against minority customers, this Treasury Department rule prevents financial institutions from taking environmental impact or social concerns into account when making financial decisions. It could force banks to offer loans to gun-makers and oil exploration companies or to finance high-cost payday lenders. The move follows announcements by the biggest U.S. banks that there are some industries and activities they don’t want to finance, such as drilling for oil in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge or making loans to gun manufacturers who make assault-style weapons. Some major banks have sworn off making those loans. 

The processes for creating, amending, and overturning federal rules and regulations are complex, arcane, and lengthy. To oversimplify, there are four possible ways to overturn or revoke Trump regime rules and regulations:

  • Presidential executive action. President Biden has issued executive orders suspending or freezing some Trump rules, and he has ordered executive branch departments and agencies to begin a review process.
  • Congressional Review Act (CRA). Under the CRA, Congress has a 60-day window of opportunity to revoke a recently finalized rule or regulation. That process needs to commence forthwith.
  • Amend existing or issue new rules or regulations. The various federal departments and agencies must undertake the long, complicated process of revoking, amending, or creating rules and regulations. 
  • Enactment of new law. Congress and the president must enact new laws that revoke, amend, or create new rules, regulations, and policies.

These different tracks can only be applied to different rule subsets, some of which overlap and some of which do not. So as a practical matter, to undo the damage of the Trump regime we need to press for action on all four fronts: executive action, CRA, agency action, and new legislation. 

Additional References

  • (Propublica) Tracking the Trump Administration’s “Midnight Regulations
  • (LA Times) Column: Trump launches sneaky 11th-hour attacks on clean air, Medicaid, LGBTQ people

(Header pic: Shell Oil’s Polar Pioneer Arctic Drilling Rig as seen from Beach Drive, Jack Block Park, and Harbor Avenue.)


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