A report by ProPublica tracks more than 30 policy initiatives that the Trump administration has undertaken in the two and a half weeks since he lost the election. The policies range from increasing pollution to bringing back firing squads.
It’s unlikely most of these policies could take effect before Joe Biden is inaugurated, but once they are published in the Federal Register, Biden won’t have much power to block them — especially if Republicans still control the Senate.
Firing Squads & Electrocutions
The day before election week concluded, the White House approved a new rule to expand methods used to carry out the death penalty. The rule could bring back firing squads or electrocutions, which haven’t been seen since lethal injections were introduced.
The rule may never see the light of day; Joe Biden has suggested he won’t allow any federal executions under his administration.
Increased Food Contamination
The Dept. of Agriculture notified food safety groups hat it is pursuing a change that would speed up chicken processing so corporations can sell more birds. Experts say the change would lead to more worker injuries and increased cases of salmonella and other germs.
Automatic Purge of HHS Health Regulations
The Dept. of Health and Human Services announced the day after the election a new proposal to automatically remove health regulations that are more than 10 years old.
Dismantling the Environmental Protection Agency
The Trump Administration is taking shortcuts to push forward several rules that would make it more difficult to justify pollution restrictions. White House reviews for these changes would normally take 90 days to complete. Trump’s White House is wrapping up some of them in as little as five days.
Further Limiting Asylum Qualifications
The administration is finishing several rules that would, among other things, exclude anyone from seeking asylum who has a criminal conviction, even if the conviction was reversed or overturned; dramatically shorten the time someone has to apply for asylum after crossing the border; and allow judges to discriminate against different forms of evidence on a case-by-case basis.
Selling Wildlife Land to Oil Companies
The administration is pushing forward on providing more land to oil and gas companies to allow for increased drilling near wildlife habitats and national parks. The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is already in the process of leasing land for oil drilling. A spokesperson for the Interior Department is marketing these decisions as job creation and, get this, a step to “conserve our environment.” That makes sense, if an environment on the brink of destruction is what the Trump administration seeks to conserve.
Other policies the administration is pushing for could lead to water shortages, lower wages for some “low-skilled” workers, and more loopholes for companies to avoid providing benefits and health insurance to full-time workers.
Ongoing Tracking: https://projects.propublica.org/trump-midnight-regulations/
Kendzior Quote: https://the.ink/p/sarah-kendzior
Photo: Josh Hild