Politico Is Keeping A Running List Of What Trump Did #WhileYouWerentLooking | Blog#42

Politico Is Keeping A Running List Of What Trump Did #WhileYouWerentLooking | Blog#42

Politico has been doing the nation a tremendous public service by publishing a weekly list of things Trump did while we hyperfocused on the scandal du jour. A big thank you goes to Danny Vinnik and Politico!

Every one of this nation’s newspapers should follow Politico’s example by keeping a running tab on all the things the Trump oligarchy has been undoing, and keep that list outside their paywall, free for all to see. By the time the 2018 election has come and gone, at least half of this nation’s social contract will have been voided. Voters should know.

Here is my curation of Politico’s tremendous work. I will update it weekly:

Week 11 (August 12-18)

5 things Trump did this week while you weren’t looking

A crazy week in the White House masks real policy changes in the administration.

Washington was jolted from its August recess this week after a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, turned deadly, President Donald Trump stoked racial tension by blaming “both sides” for the violence—and then combative top aide Steve Bannon was pushed out on Friday.

Rumors swirled that other White House officials were on the verge of resigning, but there’s a reason why those aides, in the White House and agencies, have yet to pull the cord: They’re still achieving conservative reforms, despite the distractions coming from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. This week, big policy changes came from the Department of Homeland Security, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Health and Human Services. Here’s how Trump changed policy in America this week:

1. DHS ends parole program for Central American children
In November 2014, Vice President Joe Biden announced that the Obama administration was taking steps to stem that summer’s border crisis, in which tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors flooded into the United States from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. The State Department set up a program to allow the children of parents who are lawfully present in the U.S. to seek refugee or parole status while still in their home countrieswithout actually making the dangerous journey to the United States. The goal was to reduce the flow of unaccompanied children without leaving them in danger.

2. The end of an Obama health care payment experiment
While most of the attention on Obamacare has focused on the individual insurance market and the Medicaid expansion, the law also tests numerous ideas to lower the spiraling cost of health care. One approach is known as “bundled payments,” which institutes a fixed price for certain medical procedures, like hip surgery or knee replacement. If the hospital could perform the procedure for a lower cost, it kept the difference. If not, it lost money.

Read the rest at Politico.com

Week 10 (August 6-12)

5 things Trump did this week while you weren’t looking

Washington may be quiet, but the Trump administration isn’t slowing down.

It was supposed to be a quiet week in Washington, with Congress on recess and President Donald Trump staying at his golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey. But Trump shattered any respite with his unexpected threats towards North Korea and wide-ranging news conference Thursday, including a string of attacks on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Even if Trump hadn’t loudly waved those sticks, things wouldn’t have exactly been quiet within the administration itself. With far less attention, Trump’s agencies continue to crank out new policies, rolling back Obama’s regulatory legacy and imposing a new era of conservative reforms on everything from protections for a funky-looking bird to a controversial rule for stockbrokers. Here’s how Trump is changing policy in America this week:

1. Interior relaxes Obama-era Sage Grouse rules
In September 2015, the Obama administration announced new protections for the sage grouse, a bird whose habitat happens to cover some of the most resource-rich lands in the American West. The administration declined to list the bird on the endangered species list—a big victory for oil and gas companies—but the new conservation plan included strong measures to protect sage grouse habitat.

This week, the Interior Department, led by Secretary Ryan Zinke, began rolling back the conservation plan, directing the Bureau of Land Management to shrink the buffer zones between sage grouse breeding grounds, among other changes. Environmentalists slammed the move, saying it jeopardized the carefully crafted Obama-era compromise between oil and gas interests and environmental groups. The changes won’t take effect overnight: It can take years for the agency and states to implement new land-use policies that determine where companies can drill for gas and oil, but it was another big sign of the Interior Department’s new priorities under Zinke.

Read the rest at Politico.com

Week 9 (August 1-5)

5 things Trump did while you weren’t looking: Week 9

Trump takes steps on building the wall and “extreme vetting” of visa applicants.

In Congress the dam finally broke last week: With the death of the Republican health care bill, Senate Democrats allowed dozens of nominees and bills to pass before lawmakers all scattered for August recess. Even the White House had a relatively quiet week as his new chief of staff, John Kelly, became acquainted with his new job and imposed new rules around the Oval Office.

President Donald Trump, as usual, couldn’t keep out of the headlines: Transcripts of his January phone conversations with the leaders of Australia and Mexico leaked to the media and he held a campaign-style rally in West Virginia on Thursday night. Outside the West Wing, Trump’s agencies had a busy week—again, largely out of the spotlight. The Department of Homeland Security took a step toward building a border wall; the State Department moved toward “extreme vetting” of visa applicants. Plus, the Food and Drug Administration had a surprise announcement on tobacco products. Here’s what you need to know this week about how Trump really is changing policy in America:

1. DHS waives laws to help build a border wall
Congress doesn’t appear very interested in funding Trump’s promised wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. Senate Republicans, for instance, introduced a $15 billion border security bill this week—and none of that money was earmarked for the wall. Democrats are refusing to vote for any bill that includes border wall money.

But the Trump administration is continuing to take steps to build an actual, physical wall. On Tuesday, the Department of Homeland Security issued a notice that it was waiving more than three dozen environmental laws in order to build border wall prototypes along a 15-mile border in the vicinity of San Diego, California.

Read the rest at Politico.com

Week 8 (July 24-30, 2017)

At first glance, the past week in Washington looks like a lot of noise about nothing. Three versions of the Republican Obamacare repeal effort failed in the Senate, the last in a dramatic early morning vote Friday, leaving the national health care law intact after months of GOP efforts to kill it. President Donald Trump surprised Pentagon officials by tweeting that he was banning transgender troops from the military, but neither the White House nor the Department of Defense appears to have a policy in place, so the status quo holds for now. And despite Trump’s social-media war on his own attorney general, Jeff Sessions remains in his job.

Still, behind the blizzard of White House infighting and drama on Capitol Hill, the Trump administration has steadily been pushing policies behind the scenes, rolling back Obama’s legacy in favor of a new national regulatory regime friendlier to businesses and tougher on undocumented immigrants. Here’s the eighth installment of The Agenda’s weekly series on how Trump is quietly changing policy in America.

1. Trump targets Obama’s fuel economy standards
On January 13, Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency attempted to lock in its 2022-2025 fuel economy standards for cars and light trucks, issuing a finding that wasn’t due for another 15 months.

Read the rest at Politico.com

Week 7 (July 17-23, 2017)

Republicans in Washington couldn’t stay out of the headlines this week: First the GOP’s health care bill stalled in the Senate; then President Donald Trump sat down for an interview in which he went after his own Attorney General, Jeff Sessions. On Friday he shook up the West Wing by bringing in financier Anthony Scaramucci to run communications, and accepting Sean Spicer’s resignation as press secretary.

But in a policy sense, that was all noise—and while those stories sucked up all the media oxygen, Trump’s appointees were busy changing federal policy. The U.S. Trade Representative released its objectives for renegotiating NAFTA; the Department of Health and Human Services ended funding for many teen pregnancy prevention programs; and the Treasury and State departments imposed new Iran-related sanctions on 18 individuals and entities.

And those weren’t even the big moves. Here’s how the Trump administration changed American policy this week:

1. Reinstating property seizure

Read the rest at Politico.com

Week 6 (July 10-16, 2017)

Sometimes it feels like Groundhog Day in Washington, even in the summer. Republicans had yet another high-stakes week of healthcare negotiations. Meanwhile, a trip to Paris wasn’t enough for President Donald Trump to escape the snowballing Russia scandal, which has now ensnared his son, Donald Trump Jr., who apparently met with a Russian lawyer during the campaign to discuss potential dirt on Hillary Clinton.

Despite stagnation on Capitol Hill—the Senate hasn’t even held a roll-call vote on legislation since June 15—Trump’s policy agenda has not stagnated. From immigration to healthcare to trade, political appointees have settled in and are beginning to leave the administration’s mark on the government.

Here’s week six of The Agenda’s series on how Trump is changing policy, while most people’s eyes are elsewhere:

1. Foreign entrepreneurs not welcome

Read the rest at Politico.com

Week 5 (July 3-9, 2017)

’For once, Washington was quiet this week. Lawmakers were out of town for the July 4 recess and President Donald Trump spent much of the time at his golf course in New Jersey. During the latter half of the week, the action picked up as Trump jetted off to the G-20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, where he had his first in-person meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. At home, GOP leaders continued to try to negotiate a compromise on health care between moderates and conservatives.

Given all that, it might seem as though little actual policymaking happened —but you’d be surprised at how much actually happened. The Trump administration continued to roll back Barack Obama’s legacy this week, especially on climate policies where agencies undertook a series of moves that benefit oil and gas companies and infuriated environmentalists. Elsewhere, the Department of Education gave for-profit colleges another win and the Pentagon delayed an Obama-era policy on transgender troops.

Here’s the fifth week of POLITICO’s ongoing series on how Trump is quietly changing policy in America:

1. A new era for the renewable fuel standard

Read the rest at Politico.com

Week 4 (June 26-July 2nd, 2017)

It was “Energy Week” in Washington—but you’d be forgiven for not noticing. The Supreme Court announced a series of major decisions on Monday, slightly easing the injunction on President Donald Trump’s travel ban and taking up a big gerrymandering case. Eyes then quickly turned to healthcare where Senate Republicans searched for a compromise between conservatives and moderates, an effort that is proving more challenging than expected. And then they just as quickly turned to Twitter, where Trump made life harder for his own party by launching crude personal attacks against Mika Brzezinski, a co-host of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

Beneath the chaos, though, the Trump administration continued to turn back Obama-era policies, especially at the Labor Department, which took aim at nearly every major Obama rule in just a few short days. The Agenda is back to document it all. Here are five big policy changes from last week:

The Labor Department was busy, Part 1

Read the rest at Politico.com

Week 3 (June 19-25, 2017)

The White House declared it “Tech Week,” inviting a group of CEO’s to repair the administration’s somewhat rocky relationship to the innovation industries. But for all intents and purposes, this turned out to be Healthcare Week in Washington.

The Senate GOP’s healthcare bill dropped with a bang on Thursday, drafted so secretly that even key Republican lawmakers didn’t know what was in it. The bill so dominated the Washington news that even Trump’s walk back of his Comey-tape threat got only a short ride in the spotlight.

Whether Congress really gets a health care bill done is anyone’s guess; for now, it’s a massive rethink of Medicaid and some significant changes to Obamacare. But away from Capitol Hill, the White House really is still getting stuff done, quietly continuing its broad rollback of Obama-era policies. As part of our weekly roundup of what’s really changing across the government, here are five big policy changes from the last week:

1. The Labor Department loosens a rule on beryllium exposure

Read the rest at Politico.com

Week 2 (June 12-18, 2017)

It was a tough week for getting things done in Washington: The shocking attack on the Republican congressional baseball team, and then Donald Trump’s seemingly reckless tweetstorm about the Russia investigation, took up whatever oxygen was left after the Jeff Sessions hearings. “So much is happening in Washington and yet nothing is happening at all” read one recent piece of commentary.

But under the hood that’s not actually true. The White House dubbed the week “Workforce Development” week, following up on “Infrastructure Week”—and much like last week, it came with only minor policy proposals: Trump signed an executive order reducing regulations on apprenticeship programs and said the government would double federal funding for apprenticeships, although it’s unclear where that extra money would come from.

At the end of the week, though, things really started moving. On Thursday night, the Trump administration rescinded an Obama-era document that allowed the parents of DREAMers to live and work in the United States, although the policy was the subject of an ongoing lawsuit and had never taken effect. It also declined to rescind an earlier memorandum on DREAMers themselves. And later this afternoon, Trump is set to announce a roll-back of Obama’s Cuba policy, strengthening the embargo.

And beyond the Oval Office, the Trump administration continues to make substantive policy changes, from a deal on beef with China to increased autonomy for the Pentagon. The Agenda is back for the second week of our new series in which we highlight five major policy changes you might have missed.

1. U.S. and China make nice on beef, dairy and poultry

Read the rest on Politico.com

Week 1 (June 4-11, 2017)

All eyes were on Washington this week as the Trump administration hosted a series of events to promote its infrastructure policy — highlighting the president’s proposals to cut red tape, reform air traffic control and rebuild America’s roads and bridges. The president held a signing ceremony Monday, took his message to the American people in Ohio on Tuesday and invited governors to the White House on Thursday. “Infrastructure week” dominated the news.

Just kidding. It’s true — he really did do all those things—but you’d be forgiven for having no idea they happened. The eyes on Washington were all glued to the drama around former FBI Director James Comey.

Infrastructure week didn’t contain any new actual policy proposals, despite an exultant tweet from Vice President Mike Pence calling it a “banner week for infrastructure,” and Trump didn’t sign a bill. Instead, he signed a purely symbolic document in support of Rep. Bill Shuster’s plan to create a nonprofit to oversee air traffic control, and released a vague list of infrastructure principles that had already been released in his budget.

But behind all the theater, stuff really is happening in Washington. Trump’s political appointees are — slowly — getting settled into their new jobs, reviewing Obama-era policies and leaving their fingerprints on the bureaucracy. These changes don’t make national headlines, and they probably won’t be mentioned in a tweet from the commander in chief—but they could affect the lives of most Americans.

So you don’t miss these changes, The Agenda is launching a weekly series highlighting five important policy changes that took place in the past week. It will track how Trump’s agenda is being implemented across the government, even as the White House remains politically bogged down by the Russia investigation and struggles to work with Congress. And what better week to begin than this one when Washington was fixated on one Senate hearing room, while Trump’s appointees continued to roll back Obama’s agenda and sweep in a new era of conservative policy.

1. A boost for Uber and McDonald’s.

Read the rest at Politico.com

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News From Other Sources:

New York Times

The Business Links of Those Leading Trump’s Rollbacks

In February, President Trump ordered federal agencies to form teams that would identify regulations to roll back or eliminate. Through interviews, public records and documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, The New York Times and ProPublica have identified many appointees to these groups.

An investigation has revealed a string of possible conflicts, including some hires who may be reviewing rules their previous employers tried to weaken or kill, and others who may personally profit if certain regulations are changed.

Four members were appointed to
agencies that they previously lobbied.

Read the rest at NYTimes.com