What's next for oversight and streamlining of federal regulations?
The Notre Dame cathedral in Paris caught fire and sustained heavy damage. The rebuilding will likely take years, though people began politicizing it almost instantly. In other news, the Mueller report was publicly released on Thursday. Cable news networks on both sides of the partisan divide, in a show of unity, have reportedly agreed to report on nothing else for the remainder of 2019. Meanwhile, rulemaking agencies issued new regulations from synthetic cannibinoids to grapefruit grading.
In a remarkable human achievement, scientists took the first-ever image of a black hole. The effort took eight telescopes on five continents, five petabytes of data, and an algorithm designed by a team led by MIT grad student Katie Bouman. On a smaller scale, a forthcoming executive order could help rein in “regulatory dark matter,” a cosmological term CEI’s Wayne Crews borrowed to describe regulations that “require compliance without ever having been subject to a period of public comment and review.”
The news cycle was more sizzle than steak last week. President Trump threatened to shut down the southern border and backed off almost immediately, so no harm was done except to the new NAFTA/USMCA’s hopes of passage. House Democrats also asked for a bunch of presidential documents, but Republicans said no. While all that was going on, rulemaking agencies issued more than 80 new regulations ranging from assaulting pornography to NASA penalties.
Pundits spent the week engaging in mortal combat over the Mueller Report, which none of them have read, and spring officially sprung with baseball’s opening day on Thursday. Meanwhile, rulemaking agencies issued new regulations ranging from goat scrapie to pulse crop enforcement.
As tempers flared over how many “chuggas” to say before “choo-choo,” the 2019 Federal Register topped the 10,000-page mark last week and the number of new final regulations passed 500. Meanwhile, rulemaking agencies issued new regulations ranging from swap transactions to liquid mail.
Corrupt government and authoritarianism have been the historical rule rather than the exception. The U.S. Constitution’s elevation of individual rights and restraints on governmental power in particular represented the peak of the exception.
President Trump has declared passing the new NAFTA/USMCA as his top legislative priority, but congressional ratification will not be automatic. Mexico and Canada are also refraining from ratifying the deal due to President Trump’s recent steel and aluminum tariffs against them. The Senate also pushed back against his national emergency declaration, and the world mourns with New Zealand after a terrible tragedy. Meanwhile, rulemaking agencies issued new regulations ranging from vegetable power of attorney to Honduran archaeology.
The administrative state, blessed by Congress, has dispensed with the Founders’ system of legislation fashioned solely by an elected body. Regulatory reforms call for holding Congress accountable for agencies’ rules and regulations, but the deeper reality is that Congress already is accountable, in the sense of blame, for the current state of affairs.
Last week was low-drama by recent standards, but still had some important developments. The U.S. trade deficit set a record for the second year in a row, which fortunately has nothing to do with economic health one way or the other. Meanwhile, regulatory agencies issued new regulations ranging from sewage incineration to pecan reporting.