President Donald Trump has inspired fear in just about every part of the Washington establishment. If the last month has proven anything, it’s that he intends to usher in big changes in business-as-usual and he’d like to do it quickly. President Trump’s take-no-prisoners approach to shaking up Washington has no doubt come as a shock for those who have made a living fighting for the the status quo. But frankly, that’s just the way he wants it.
One of the president’s biggest initiatives has been a thorough review of government regulations, which have grown out of control in recent years as a result of President Obama’s dramatic expansion of executive power. Juliet Eilperin writes for The Washington Post:
President Trump has embarked on the most aggressive campaign against government regulation in a generation, joining with Republican lawmakers to roll back rules already on the books and limit the ability of federal regulators to impose new ones.
After just a few weeks in office, the new administration is targeting dozens of Obama-era policies, using both legislative and executive tactics. …
The campaign has alarmed labor unions, public safety advocates and environmental activists, who fear losing regulations that have been in place for years, along with relatively new federal mandates. Business groups, however, are thrilled, saying Trump is responding to long-standing complaints that a profusion of federal regulations unnecessarily increases costs and hampers their ability to create jobs.
The battle against the burdensome regulatory state and the dangerous expansion of executive power is being waged on multiple fronts. One of House Republicans first actions was to pass the REINS Act, which restores Congress to its rightful role by requiring any executive branch rule with an economic impact of $100 million or more to go before Congress for a vote. Similarly, one of the White House’s first executive orders required agencies to offset the cost of every significant new regulation by eliminating or reconfiguring existing regulations. Finally, Congress appears poised to use its power under the Congressional Review Act, which allows them to nullify a regulation within 60 days of enactment, to sort through the last minute flurry of regulation that Obama shuffled through before leaving office.
Inevitably, this was going to leave some federal employees upset. After all, the fiefdoms which they had worked so hard to build were being wiped out. But rather than respond with frustration at the political process or resignation that their party fell out of power, federal employees have lashed out against democracy itself.
“My biggest disappointment is a majority in Congress ignored the will of the people,” Joe Pizarchik, who worked in the Interior Department under Obama, told Politico. “They ignored the interests of the people in coal country, they ignored the law and they put corporate money ahead of all that.”
“I believe there’s a good chance that, in a legal challenge, that a court will overturn Congress’ actions here as an unconstitutional usurpation of the executive branch’s powers,” Pizarchik continued.
Similarly, the New York Times, reports that some bureaucrats have decided to take matters into their own hands:
Across the vast federal bureaucracy, Donald J. Trump’s arrival in the White House has spread anxiety, frustration, fear and resistance among many of the two million nonpolitical civil servants who say they work for the public, not a particular president.
At the Environmental Protection Agency, a group of scientists strategized this past week about how to slow-walk President Trump’s environmental orders without being fired.
At the Treasury Department, civil servants are quietly gathering information about whistle-blower protections as they polish their résumés.
This isn’t just ridiculous, it’s dangerous. Contrary to Mr. Pizarchik’s belief, the “will of the people” is expressed through elections. Those elections resulted in Republicans having majorities in both houses of Congress and control of the White House. Bureaucrats with a different political worldview may find that causes them “anxiety, frustration and fear,” but the proper response is to quit, not engage in acts of sabotage against the will of the people.
If anything, these damaging actions by a shadow-government exemplify the absolute need for Congress to reestablish their rightful role. The executive branch is the implementation arm of the legislative branch. To refuse is to threaten some of the bedrock principles that have made America, for lack of a better word…great.