GOP lawmakers hope to unravel Obama actions
The Affordable Care Act is toast, but, as they say, that’s not all.
U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Colo., will reintroduce three measures that he has already introduced to reduce the effects of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., said regulations issued by the Obama administration in recent months will get close congressional review and possibly reversal once the GOP-run Congress is in place and Donald J. Trump is in the Oval Office.
Much of what was done by executive action can be undone the same way, Gardner said.
“The pen and the phone is a double-edged sword,” Gardner said during a visit to Grand Junction.
Likewise, a legislative technique known as reconciliation, which was used to get the Affordable Care Act without a Senate filibuster, will be used to repeal it, Gardner said.
“It’s just what the doctor ordered,” Gardner said.
A little-used 1996 law, the Congressional Review Act, is likely to get a workout as Congress moves to deal with regulations that, as Tipton frequently points out, were never voted on by any Republican or Democrat in Congress, but nonetheless have the full force of federal law.
The Environmental Protection Agency’s Waters of the United States regulations are likely to undergo review under the act, as is the Clean Power Plan and others.
There are 53 major regulations — those estimated to have economic costs of $100 million each — that are likely to face review, Gardner said.
In the short term, Congress is likely to adopt a continuing resolution to keep the federal government operating until it can begin dealing with a new budget, Tipton said.
He is looking to continue his efforts to pass legislation aimed at reducing regulatory burdens aimed at larger banks that must be met by small, community banks, Tipton said.
Another measure aimed at increasing banking services for rural-area residents will be reintroduced, as well, Tipton said.
Former U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., half of the Dodd-Frank tandem, has conceded that the measure likely overreached, especially on its effect on community banks, Tipton said.
“That’s exactly what we’re hearing” in conversations with bankers around the 3rd Congressional District, which includes most of the Western Slope and much of southern Colorado, Tipton said.
Not everything will be rolled back, Tipton said, noting that new financial instruments are on the market and that consumer protections still are in order, but that so are cost-benefit analyses and “a level of common sense.”
The CHOICE Act, which included some of his own legislation, looks like a good template for Congress to consider when it reconvenes, Tipton said.
He also plans to reintroduce the Water Rights Protection Act and other natural-resource related legislation that has passed the House only to stall before the Senate, Tipton said.
Appointments to federal agencies also will occupy a prime role, Tipton said, noting that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has two open seats and a third vacancy due to open in mid-2017.
The five-member commission has had two vacancies since two Republicans’ terms lapsed this year.
President Obama offered no replacement appointments for Senate confirmation.
Obama met twice with Republican members of the House during his administration.
“If he was the same guy who visited with us in the conference, we could have accomplished a few things,” Tipton said. “Unfortunately, as we saw time after time, it was 100 percent of what he wanted or it was no way.”