Political Notes — Carr doubles down on environmental attacks

[private]Attorney General Chris Carr wants to overturn the “Waters of the U.S. Rule,” a clean water regulation issued by the Obama Administration in 2015.

Carr has joined with 24 other Republican attorneys general in signing a letter to the incoming president urging him to rescind the rule, which redefines which streams, rivers, lakes and marshes are regulated by the EPA in its enforcement of the Clean Water Act.

Carr contended that the rule “is unconstitutional and will have significant consequences for homeowners, farmers and other entities by subjecting them to costly permits and complex federal mandates to perform everyday tasks.”

The Waters of the U.S. Rule is not currently in effect because it has been blocked by a federal court order.

In their letter to the Trump transition team, the attorneys general ask the incoming administration to withdraw the WOTUS Rule and work with Congress to “rein in the regulatory reach of the federal government over land and water resources.”

This is Carr’s second attempt to overturn EPA regulations. Earlier in December, he joined the attorneys general in a similar request for the new administration to rescind the Clean Power Plan that’s intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by power plants.

The previous attorney general, Sam Olens, took part in similar legal assaults on the same clean air and water regulations.

Medical journal pummels price

U.S. Rep. Tom Price, the nominee to become secretary of health and human services, took a pounding in an article published last week in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The article contends that Price cares more about the financial well-being of physicians than about the well-being of their patients:

Tom Price represents a different tradition. Ostensibly, he emphasizes the importance of making our health care system “more responsive and affordable to meet the needs of America’s patients and those who care for them.” But as compared with his predecessors’ actions, Price’s record demonstrates less concern for the sick, the poor, and the health of the public and much greater concern for the economic well-being of their physician caregivers.

Price has sponsored legislation that supports making armor-piercing bullets more accessible and opposing regulations on cigars, and he has voted against regulating tobacco as a drug. His voting record shows long-standing opposition to policies aimed at improving access to care for the most vulnerable Americans.

In 2007–2008, during the presidency of George W. Bush, he was one of only 47 representatives to vote against the Domenici–Wellstone Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, which improved coverage for mental health care in private insurance plans. He also voted against funding for combating AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis; against expansion of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program; and in favor of allowing hospitals to turn away Medicaid and Medicare patients seeking nonemergency care if they could not afford copayments.

Price favors converting Medicare to a premium-support system and changing the structure of Medicaid to a block grant — policy options that shift financial risk from the federal government to vulnerable populations.

He also opposed reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act and has voted against legislation prohibiting job discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people and against enforcement of laws against anti-LGBT hate crimes. He favors amending the Constitution to outlaw same-sex marriage.

Lewis faces fines

U.S. Rep. John Lewis and other Democratic congressmen who participated in a sit-in on the House floor to try to force a vote on legislation will face monetary fines if they use similar tactics next year.

Bloomberg News reports that House Speaker Paul Ryan is proposing several new rules to restrain future congressional actions:

Under the proposed new rules package, which was seen by Bloomberg, members could face a $500 fine through deductions to their paychecks for a first offense of using electronic photography or audio or visual recording, as well as for broadcasting from the chamber’s floor. A $2,500 fine would be leveled for the next such offense and each subsequent violation.

The new rules also clarify which conduct is to be deemed disorderly or disruptive during floor proceedings, including blocking access by other members to microphones or what is known as “the well” — the front of the chamber.

Such action could lead to potential referral to the Committee on Ethics and sanctions against members, according to an accompanying section-by-section analysis of the new rules package.

“These changes will help ensure that order and decorum are preserved in the House of Representatives so lawmakers can do the people’s work,” AshLee Strong, a spokesman for Ryan, said in an e-mailed statement.

Lewis led the sit-ins last June in an attempt to force a vote on gun control legislation, saying, “We were elected to lead, Mr. Speaker. We must be headlights, and not taillights.  We cannot continue to stick our heads in the sand and ignore the reality of mass gun violence in our nation.”

The sit-in gained national media attention, but was not successful in forcing a vote.

© 2016 by The Georgia Report


Tags: Chris Carr , House sit-ins , John Lewis , Waters of the U.S. Rule