Email #247: “uphold our constitutional framework”?

I wrote to you previously about the EPA’s attempt to delay implementing a regulation for two years, a delay which a court struck down as unlawful because the delay violates the regulation development process. I now read that other agencies in the executive branch are acting similarly.

The Labor Department has delayed a rule requiring financial advisers to put consumers’ interests before their own, and the Food and Drug Administration has delayed a rule requiring restaurants to list calories on their menus.

The Interior Department also issued a two-year delay on rules limiting methane in wells. The GOP-controlled Senate had attempted to revoke the law requiring the regulation, but three Republican Senators joined Democrats to preserve it. That means the Interior Department’s delay is a way for the GOP-controlled executive branch to change the law without Congress.

Although you said the morning after your re-election that you “will work hard checking executive overreach,” you have not responded to the Trump administration’s overreaching abuse of these delays. You also said in May: “I take Congress’s role to uphold our constitutional framework of three co-equal branches of government very seriously. Congress and the American public should not and cannot allow one branch to assume too much authority without a challenge from the other branches of government.”

Why then are you not challenging the executive branch now? I realize you might personally agree with the individual policies that the delays support, but that does not excuse you from carrying out your duties as chair of the House Judiciary Committee. If anything, it raises the ethical bar. A failure to check the executive branch now reveals your earlier statements to be false. Did your concern for the Constitution stop when a Republican entered the White House?

Although my continuing research into your actions and inaction reveal startlingly consistent hypocrisy, I would still like to believe that at some point you will recognize the damage you are doing to the principles that you claim to uphold. I would like to believe that you are guided by more than political expediency. I would like to believe that you are an American before you are a Republican.

Opposing executive delays of legislative laws is an opportunity for you to define yourself in your own conservative terms and not as a Trump administration yes-man. Doing so now would also establish your credibility later when you are faced with far more serious choices regarding the President’s future in the White House.

Email #125: “regulate the economy”?

A new poll shows that Americans view the economy not through verifiable facts but through the lens of their political parties. “We’ve never recorded this before,” said the director of the University of Michigan’s consumer poll: “the partisan divide has never had as large an impact on consumers’ economic expectations.”

While the polarizing effects of the last election and Trump’s continuingly divisive presidency may be the biggest factor, you’ve done your part too. You wrote in one of your past newsletters:

“The Obama Administration’s attempt over the last eight years to regulate the economy back to prosperity was the wrong approach.”

The verb “regulate” is a rhetorical device to imply that President Obama’s only method for tackling the economy was creating new regulations. This is obviously not true, and so it is disturbing to see you so casually imply a false statement. Worse, you directly state that President Obama’s economic policies overall were “wrong.” This is verifiably false. As you know, the GDP growth was up for 25 of the last 27 quarters of his presidency, with 76 consecutive months of jobs growth.

There’s plenty to criticize too, since the percent of growth was low. Still, Obama entered office at the onset of the Great Recession, and a Republican Congress, yourself included, halted his economic growth policies two years later. So why didn’t your newsletter column “The Price Tag of Federal Regulation” acknowledge the Republican role in the economic condition of the country, especially the policies of the Bush Administration that triggered the recession that Obama inherited?

Your treatment of facts is disturbing. We have a President who routinely lies. I say that objectively. According to multiple fact-checking sources, President Trump regularly makes false statements, calling them “truthful hyperboles” or “euphemisms” or “alternate facts.” Whatever you call them, they destroy public trust. And rather than addressing that problem, your own statements are adding to it, further dividing the country–even on issues as factually verifiable as the state of the economy.

You told me elected officials should be held to the highest standards. Please apply that principle to your own rhetoric. There’s far more at stake than partisan squabbling. You can either help to heal America’s blinding political divide, or you can keep widening that gap to score meaningless partisan points at a deepening cost to our nation.