A Birthday Wish List for the President

President Trump’s domestic policy agenda is, at best, a mixed bag from a classical liberal perspective. And some of his international policy proposals involving foreigners and minorities are shockingly illiberal. But everyone’s birthday is worth celebrating, and his is today, June 14. Here are four gifts Congress should give the president before its annual July 4th recess:

  • Air Traffic Control: Canada privatized its air traffic control in 1995, which is a major reason why its aviation infrastructure is one of the world’s best. Given the president’s penchant for frequent air travel, similar reform in the U.S. would benefit him personally, as well as the general public. Previously introduced reform legislation is here, and CEI transportion guru Marc Scribner’s take on the matter is here.
  • Financial CHOICE Act: It’s already passed the House, and the bill text is here. It needs only Senate action and a presidential signature. The CHOICE Act would repeal parts of the Dodd-Frank financial regulation bill, which has hindered everything from small business creation to everyday credit card transactions. CEI financial regulation experts John Berlau and Iain Murray have written about this potential gift to the American people here and here.
  • Regulatory reform: The biggest gift Congress can give give to anybody. Regular readers are familiar with Trump’s early flurry of executive orders ranging from a ‘one-in, two-out’ rule for new regulations to a possible regulatory budget, similar to the government’s annual fiscal budget. But the real action must come from Congress. Unlike the executive branch, it has legislative power. The House has already passed bills such as the Regulatory Accountability Act and the REINS Act, which would mark major steps in what should be one of Washington’s most important priorities. Those bills still need Senate action, and the president would likely be more than happy to sign them. They would make a fine gift, given Trump’s comments on cutting federal regulatory burdens, which now top $1.9 trillion, according to the just-released 2017 edition Wayne Crews’ annual Ten Thousand Commandments report.
  • Overtime rule: If you work more than 40 hours per week, extra overtime pay is a nice reward. But the federal government’s upcoming mandatory overtime policy will likely cause more harm than good to workers—making people more expensive to hire means companies will hire fewer of them. This can affect everything from employment rates to caps on workers’ hours whether they like it or not, to decreased benefits, to increased automation, and on and on; tradeoffs exist. CEI’s Trey Kovacs has plenty to say on the issue here, and easily-passable legislation is here. For a job as busy as the presidency, this would make a great gift to overworked people across the country.

While we agree on some issues and disagree on others, all of us at CEI wish the president a happy birthday. May Congress give him—and the rest of us—some of these presents.