Today we inaugurate a new daily feature we’re calling “While He Was Tweeting.” We’ll be tracking the rule changes, rollbacks, executive orders, agency moves and the legislation that are underway as the president, his team (and often, the media) are distracted by the five ongoing Russia investigations and the various legal cases surrounding the Trump administration. Those are important, too — but we wanted to create a special series that looks at the changes being wrought in Washington that will affect us all, perhaps for decades.
In essence we’ll be following Trump’s famed “wrecking ball” in action.
There’s a lot of catching up to do, so we recommend you take a look at The Washington Post’s collection of changes (and attempted changes) made since the Trump administration took office. It’s almost as good as a fact-checked review of Steve Bannon’s whiteboard.
The reporting team of Juliet Eilperin and Darla Cameron have divided the changes into seven topics groups, making it easy to follow the rise and fall of your favorite issue: environment, immigration, civil rights, labor and finance, health care, education and government reform. To date there have been 15 executive actions, 27 Cabinet-level decisions (13 more in the works), 14 successful Congressional Review Acts (20 failed), and one new piece of legislation (two more are in the works).
What kinds of changes are we talking about? Well, here are just a few samples:
The EPA announced it would postpone implementation of its smog standards for a year, effectively delaying how soon communities across the country could have to reduce air pollution. The agency was slated to propose this month which communities were out of compliance and to finalize those determinations in October. Now, those final decisions will not be issued until October 2018.
The Labor Department suspended an Obama-era rule requiring that companies electronically report their injury and illness records, a move that effectively keeps these records from being publicly disclosed for the immediate future.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions will end a Justice Department partnership with independent scientists to raise forensic science standards and has suspended an expanded review of FBI testimony across several techniques that have come under question.
An order on religious freedom also calls for “regulatory relief” for employers who do not want to pay for their employees’ birth control coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos withdrew a series of policy memos issued by the Obama administration to strengthen consumer protections for student loan borrowers.
All federal agencies must submit a plan by June 30 to shrink their civilian workforces. This lifts the governmentwide hiring freeze the president imposed on Jan. 23.
Remember to check “While He Was Tweeting” daily for news you’ll want to know about.