4 Horrible Policy Changes Trump Issued This Week While You Weren’t Looking
While the Republican Congress continues to be unable to govern, President Donald Trump is unilaterally making horrible policy changes, using every distraction to get away with it.
This week, for example, Americans were focused on the wave of Sexual harassment allegations that brought down big-name members of Congress. But that wasn’t the only distraction. President Donald Trump threw his full backing behind accused harasser Roy Moore for Alabama’s Senate seat and also stirred global controversy by declaring the U.S. Embassy in Israel would move to Jerusalem, and Congress moved closer to passing its sweeping, quickly-written tax bill for corporations.
Meanwhile, however, the Trump administration’s ground-level policy changes continued apace, out of the headlines, from withdrawing from a major international agreement on migration to the repeal of Obama-era rules on wages and methane leaks. Here are five ways Trump changed policy this week while you weren’t looking:
1. Trump admin scraps Obama-era proposal requiring airlines to disclose bag fees
The Trump administration scrapped an Obama-era proposal requiring airlines and ticket agencies to disclose baggage fees as soon as passengers start the process of buying a ticket.
The move drew ire from Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), who has been one of the leading voices in Congress pushing for airline consumer protections
“Unbelievable. Pulling the plug on rules that would ensure airlines are open and honest about bag fees and other charges is about as anti-consumer as it gets,” Blumenthal tweeted. “The Trump Admin’s reckless reversal is a gift for the airlines’ bottom line — and a slap in the face for travelers who deserve clarity when buying a ticket.”
2. DOL rolls back Obama-era rule on tipped wages
In 2011, Obama’s Department of Labor issued a new rule to protect workers who rely heavily on tips: It prohibited companies from pooling the tips of their workers and dispersing them to other staff. The idea was to prevent employers from pocketing the tips themselves.
This week, the Trump administration issued a rule to repeal the 2011 rule. Labor advocates were very critical of the proposed rollback, saying it would effectively sanction wage theft, allowing employers to collect tips that are rightfully owed to tipped workers.
3. U.S. ends participation in global compact on migration
In an effort to find a humane and fair way for countries to deal with the rising flow of refugees, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution in September 2016 that would create a new global compact on migration, promising to stop gender-based violence and improve educational opportunities for migrants, among other commitments.
But on Sunday, the United States withdrew from the compact, saying that it infringed on U.S. sovereignty. Trump officials defended the withdrawal as necessary to protect America’s borders. But diplomats and human rights groups slammed the move, saying it represented an abdication of the U.S.’ international responsibilities that would further degrade its global standing.
4. Trump administration rolls back methane waste rule
In 2016, the Bureau of Land Management issued a rule to regulate methane leaks from new oil and gas wells, tightening up the requirements on companies operating on public lands. It was one of the Obama administration’s final efforts to combat climate change.
Those hopes were short-lived. This week, the Trump administration delayed until Jan. 17, 2019, major pieces of the Obama-era regulation, effectively negating the rule and giving the agency time to repeal or rewrite it altogether. The delay wasn’t exactly a surprise: In June, the Trump administration attempted to delay key compliance dates for the Obama-era rule, effectively pushing back when companies must actually adjust their operational practices to avoid penalties, but a judge ruled in October that BLM’s delay violated procedural rules.
It seems like for every action Donald Trump takes to “Make America Great Again,” countless souls are swept into the depths of despair.