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OpenMarket: June 2015

  • Are There Broader Implications of the Supreme Court's EPA Ruling?

    June 30, 2015

    “In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court blocked the Environmental Protection Agency’s mercury and air toxics standards, charging that the administration failed to adequately consider the estimated $10 billion it would cost utilities to dramatically cut power plant pollution to comply with the measure,” reported The Washington Times yesterday.

    While the question has been raised about the broader implications of the court’s decision on other EPA regulations, CEI’s William Yeatman, says there is not much broad impact.

    As Reuter’s Lawrence Hurley reported:

    "’The agency must consider cost - including, most importantly, cost of compliance - before deciding...

  • U.S. Supreme Court to Take on Government Union Power

    June 30, 2015
    Today, the U.S. Supreme Court granted cert to a case that could give all public employees right-to-work protections. If SCOTUS rules in favor of the plaintiff, California teacher Rebecca Friedrich, government unions would lose their power to compel non-members to pay union dues as a condition of employment.
  • Reimagining Surface Transportation Reauthorization: Pro-Market Recommendations for Policy Makers

    June 30, 2015

    Today, CEI published my white paper, “Reimagining Surface Transportation Reauthorization: Pro-Market Recommendations for Policy Makers.” In it, I lay out the case for making some small but important changes to federal surface transportation policy.

    Traditionally, free market fiscal conservatives have advocated for devolving all federal highway and transit programs to the states. To be sure, we at CEI support this eventual goal. Unfortunately, it is wholly unrealistic at this time. But there are still things that can be done to move closer to this direction. We suggest a strategy of “de facto devolution,” which basically involves keeping federal spending steady while increasing the flexibility of states to fund and finance their own highways. To...

  • 5 Reasons Why It's Time to Close the Ex-Im Bank

    June 29, 2015

    The clock is ticking on the Export-Import Bank’s upcoming reauthorization. For the larger part of the past eight decades, Ex-Im’s existence has continued unchallenged and generally conceded as just another example of “the way Washington works.” However, this year is different. Bipartisan support for closing Ex-Im, and ending its crony practices, has grown to an all-time high. Here are the top 5 reasons why it’s time to finally close the Ex-Im for good.

    1. 

  • CEI's Battered Business Bureau: The Week in Regulation

    June 29, 2015

    The big news from last week was the Supreme Court’s King v. Burwell decision, which upheld the IRS’ right to issue regulations directly contradicting legislation passed by Congress and signed by the president. But other agencies also issued more than 60 new regulations covering everything from cotton farmers’ conduct to infant formula.

    On to the data:

    • Last week, 64 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 81 the previous week.
    • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 38 minutes.
    • So far in 2015, 1,511 final regulations have been published in the Federal Register. At that pace, there will be a total of 3,071 new regulations this year, which would be several hundred fewer rules than the usual total of 3,500-plus.
    • Last week, 1,343 new pages were added to the ...
  • Supreme Court Rewrites Obamacare, Again

    June 25, 2015

    This morning, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled for the Obama administration in King v. Burwell, upholding the legality of health insurance tax credits for people in the 36 states that haven’t set up insurance exchanges under Obamacare. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the Court, while Justice Antonin Scalia dissented, joined by Justices Alito and Thomas.

    Unlike the major Obamacare case decided by the Supreme Court in 2012, NFIB v. Sebelius, today’s decision in King doesn’t concern the law’s constitutionality. Instead, the case challenged an IRS regulation interpreting the meaning of the Affordable Care Act (ACA)—better known as Obamacare. The law says that many low- and middle-income Americans can get “...

  • Kudos to Rep. Tom McClintock for His Principled Stand

    June 24, 2015

    Last night, the U.S. House of Representatives passed its version of TSCA reform (H.R. 2576) by a roll call vote of 398 in favor, one opposed, and 34 members not voting. Yesterday, I lamented the fact that this bill was pushed through under suspension of the rules, which is supposed to be for low-cost, non-controversial bills, which is something that TSCA reform certainly is not.

    In any case, the issue is very complicated, and I am willing to bet money that many of those members who voted yea could offer few details about this legislation, what it does, or what the impact might be, which to some extent...

  • California Department of Water and Power Trusts Used as Union Slush Fund

    June 24, 2015
    Public resources should be used to promote public purposes, meaning tax dollars should not go toward efforts that exclusively financially assist a private entity.
  • Reasons to Oppose the Ex-Im Bank, Part 8: Back Door Bank Subsidies

    June 24, 2015

    The Export-Import Bank’s charter expires on June 30. This series of posts makes the case for closing Ex-Im, one argument at a time. See also parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and ...

  • Suspending Reason to Pass “TSCA Reform”

    June 23, 2015

    The process of lawmaking is often compared to sausage making: an unpalatable job that produces a palatable result. It’s easy to agree with the first part of that analogy, but in politics, the result isn’t always pleasant.

    Today, U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to “suspend the rules” and pass its version of reform to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). This cursory approach is another example of the suspension of reason that has plagued the entire TSCA debate, the result of which remains ambiguous at best.

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