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Those days may be over. On Wednesday, the EPA , under new Administrator Scott Pruitt, released its proposed Renewable Fuel Standard for , which would leave the requirement for conventional biofuels unchanged at its level. But the EPA would reduce the requirement for advanced biofuels, the first reduction in volumes under the Renewable Fuel Standard. Biofuel producers slammed it.

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More oil and gas drilling on federal lands Under Obama, oil and gas companies frequently criticized the administration for limiting drilling on federal lands, an effort that was praised by environmentalists as a way to keep oil and gas in the ground and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. On Thursday, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke took a step in the exact opposite direction when he issued a secretarial order directing the Bureau of Land Management to speed up the permitting process for oil and gas leases.

Zinke wants the BLM to hold quarterly lease sales and to issue permits within 30 days. The bureaucratic move is a first step toward opening up more federal land to oil and gas drilling but, as Zinke said, nothing will change overnight. It was a big victory for for-profit colleges, which are disproportionately affected by the rule. As of July 1, the rule required schools to disclose a range of information to prospective students, including completion rates and post-graduate earnings.

But on Wednesday, the Department of Education issued a notice that it was extending the compliance date for those disclosures by a year, to July 1, In the meantime, schools must still disclose that information on their websites. The move is another victory for for-profit schools, which have found a much more welcome regulatory regime under new Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

The BOEM issued a notice in the Federal Register seeking comments from the public on a replacement plan that would cover to In the meantime, offshore drilling in most of the Arctic will remain off limits.

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The Pentagon delays lifting the ban on transgender troops In June , the Obama administration announced that it would allow transgender troops to serve openly in the military, a move lauded by gay-rights groups and criticized by many Republicans who worried it could undermine the strength and stability of U. The move was set to take effect on July 1—but late last Friday, the Department of Defense announced that it was delaying lifting the ban until January 1, , to determine the impact on "the readiness and lethality of our forces. Gay-rights advocates vigorously dispute that argument and slammed the Pentagon 's delay.

But they are hopeful that it signals a broader reversal of the Obama-era policy. In , President Barack Obama passed a rule to allow foreign-born entrepreneurs to remain in the U. It was supposed to go into effect on July This week, the Department of Homeland Security pushed it back, delaying the effective date until March This week, U. Bush and approved by Congress in In a one-page letter to his Korean counterpart, Lighthizer specifically wrote that the Trump administration was determined to reverse the U.

The stakes are high: Both the U. Any trade disputes would only hurt the U. A so-called Section innovation waiver, for its section of the Affordable Care Act, allows states to opt out of many Obamacare regulations within the basic parameters of the law. This week, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services approved its first waiver, to Alaska, which wants to set up a reinsurance program to help insurers that end up with a disproportionate number of high-cost enrollees.

The program is intended to moderate premium increases and prevent its individual insurance market from collapsing. But it still marked a milestone for the law. The ACA puts strict rules around when and how states can waive Obamacare requirements but that could change if Senate Republicans reach a compromise on their health reform. Under their bill, states could receive approval for waivers much easily—with less oversight, and more freedom to spend money as they see fit.

But under Trump, a new environmental regime is underway, quickly reversing those policies. This week brought two such efforts. Under Obama, the EPA refused to issue permits for gold and copper mining in Pebble and instead officially restricted mining in the area. In May, the EPA, under Administrator Scott Pruitt, announced a deal with the owner of the Pebble Mine to withdraw an ongoing lawsuit, repeal the mining restrictions and allow Pebble a fair process to apply for a permit. On Thursday, the Interior Department announced its first oil and gas lease sale since Trump took office, offering The lease sale is scheduled for August Trump has said the issue is a top priority for his administration, but he has made few real policy changes on it so far.

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That changed on Thursday when the Department of Health and Human Services released two major new rules setting payment rates and policies for hospital outpatient departments and ambulatory surgical centers. But experts immediately focused on a reform to the prices that the government will pay certain doctors and hospitals for prescription drugs. The change relates to the B discount drug program, which was created in and requires drug manufacturers to offer outpatient drugs at a heavy discount—around The new proposal would reimburse hospitals for such drugs at CMS says that this reform will lower out-of-pocket costs for patients, ensuring that the B program is actually benefiting Medicare patients and not just goosing the bottom line of B hospitals and doctors.

The Trump administration heavily promoted the changes, even sending out a statement from Trump touting the reforms. Expect a major fight to come. Reinstating property seizure In , then-Attorney General Eric Holder reversed nearly three decades of federal policy when he severely limited state and local police from using federal law to seize cash, cars and other personal property from crime suspects. The Justice Department eventually allowed a very restricted version of the policy to resume last year. But Democrats and Republicans alike had sharply criticized the whole idea, arguing that seizing assets from people who had not yet been convicted of a crime was a violation of due process—and a terrible incentive for police.

Sessions and his deputy, Rod Rosenstein, stressed that civil asset forfeitures, a policy that began at the start of the w ar on d rugs, would be critical for state and local police to combat the opioid crisis. But critics said the safeguards were too weak to guard against abuse and worried it was a reward to police departments for supporting Trump during the presidential campaign.

Rosenstein denied that, but Trump has been receptive to requests from local police. Experts are still picking through all of the information , but a few broad themes are clear: Trump intends a far less active regulatory state than Obama, proposing fewer rules and more deregulatory actions, wiping Obama-era rules off the books. In some cases, the absence of a rule is telling: The Agriculture Department, for instance, dropped multiple rules on organic products that were close to being finalized during the Obama administration. But on Monday, the Department of Homeland Security announced that it was granting businesses an additional 15, H-2B visas for low-skilled, non-agricultural workers for fiscal Critics called the provision a back -door increase in foreign labor, allowing Washington to further undercut American workers, and hoped that the Trump administration would not use its new authority.

But DHS determined that 15, extra visas were needed. Selling rice to China Trump blasted China for its trade practices during the presidential campaign but as president, the U.

Morgenthau Plan

And this week, you can add rice to that list. Of course, the trade relationship has some real sticking points. For instance, this week, the sides were unable to agree on a one-year plan on trade at the U. And Trump is expected to infuriate China by signing off on steep steel tariffs in the near future. No more traveling to North Korea The death in June of Otto Warmbier, an American college student, after 18 months of captivity in North Korea sent shock waves across the United States and provoked outrage from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, with many calling for a ban on travel to the North.

Warmbier was convicted in to 15 years of hard labor after attempting to steal a poster from his hotel room. Two months into his sentence, he suffered a severe head injury; in June, North Korea released a comatose Warmbier to his family in the United States. He died a few days later. The goal was clear: block Trump from weakening the standards.

On Tuesday, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began the process to write fuel efficiency regulations for years , seeking comment on an upcoming environmental review. It may also go back a year and review the fuel efficiency standards, which NHTSA issued in So while the EPA attempted to lock in the standards through its January rule, NHTSA must still go through a full rule-making process on its own to set the fuel economy standards, giving Trump an opening to weaken those rules. The new policy , released Tuesday, imposes new restrictions on cities that receive certain grants from the DOJ.

Will that actually happen? The effort represented a top second-term priority for Obama—a unilateral attempt to give American workers a raise. The rule was intended to impose stronger safety measures on fracking on public lands, requiring producers to safely store waste fluids and disclose what chemicals they use. But the rule never actually took effect, due to lawsuits from the oil and gas industry. The Obama administration heavily promoted the program, but myRA never garnered much interest: Only about 20, people have opened accounts since it launched at the end of Democrats are refusing to vote for any bill that includes border wall money.

But the Trump administration is continuing to take steps to build an actual, physical wall. On Tuesday, the Department of Homeland Security issued a notice that it was waiving more than three dozen environmental laws in order to build border wall prototypes along a mile border in the vicinity of San Diego, California. Trump targets a major financial regulation In the aftermath of the financial crisis, Congress passed the Dodd-Frank Act, a law intended to protect consumers, tighten up oversight of banks and prevent another deep recession.

Republicans for years have complained that the law was unduly harsh, discouraging banks from lending and contributing to the slow economic recovery.

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, an independent agency currently run by a cting Director Keith Noreika, who Trump appointed in May, requested comments on revising the Volcker r ule, a clear sign that he intends to change the underlying regulation. Despite its seeming straightforward nature, the rule is incredibly complicated, running pages and crafted by four agencies, along with the OCC.

The Obama administration had intended to spread different aspects of loan management—such as consolidation, financial reporting, and default—among multiple companies. The move sparked an immediate backlash from Democrats, and some Republicans, who said competition was needed to ensure that servicers had the best interest of students at heart. This week, DeVos abandoned those plans, canceling a solicitation for bids to manage the loan portfolio.

The Secret Knowledge: On the Dismantling of American Culture

The agency is accepting comments for 60 days and will issue a final decision soon thereafter. The FDA makes a mixed move on tobacco In May , the Food and Drug Administration in a landmark move imposed the first real rules on electronic cigarettes, banning their sale to people under the age of 18 and requiring companies to apply to the FDA for approval of the product. Democrats cheered the announcement for instituting long-overdue oversight of the industry while Republicans said it was misguided, potentially causing Americans to smoke regular cigarettes over the electronic versions.

Earlier this year, the FDA extended that deadline by three months. That looked like a rollback of tobacco restrictions—but at the same time, the agency said it would examine whether to lower the amount of nicotine in traditional cigarettes, a surprise announcement that worried the tobacco industry. The dual changes split the traditional party-line approach to tobacco regulation—Democrats in favor of it, Republicans against—and are sure to set up a knockdown fight with the industry if the FDA really does decide to reduce nicotine levels. Stay tuned. Interior relaxes Obama-era sage grouse rules In September , the Obama administration announced new protections for the sage grouse, a bird whose habitat happens to cover some of the most resource-rich lands in the American West.

The administration declined to list the bird on the endangered species list—a big victory for oil and gas companies—but the new conservation plan included strong measures to protect sage grouse habitat.

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This week, the Interior Department, led by Secretary Ryan Zinke, began rolling back the conservation plan, directing the Bureau of Land Management to shrink the buffer zones between sage grouse breeding grounds, among other changes. Environmentalists slammed the move, saying it jeopardized the carefully crafted Obama-era compromise between oil and gas interests and environmental groups. The changes were designed to ensure that the EPA examines chemicals for their likely real-world impact, instead of narrowly evaluating them on the specific uses for which they were intended.

In a surprise, the EPA will first assess chemicals based only on their intended use—similar to how the agency operated before passage of the new law. In other words, new chemicals may still be approved while the EPA is reviewing their potential further impact—the exact outcome lawmakers were trying to avoid. The change is a big victory for industry groups, which wanted a lighter touch approach to regulation. Pruitt also announced Monday that the agency had cleared a backlog of new chemicals awaiting approval—another move that drew praise from the chemical industry and strong rebukes from consumer groups.

The Obama-era DOJ had argued that the Ohio law discriminated against minorities and thus violated federal voting laws, but in a filing on Monday, the department said it had reconsidered its position and determined that the Ohio voting roll purge was legal. Since the election, Trump has repeatedly claimed—without evidence—that millions of people cast illegal ballots, allowing Hillary Clinton to win the popular vote. In response, he created a commission to investigate voter fraud, led by controversial Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, which has done little so far.

In addition, the Justice Department in February dropped its opposition to a Texas voter ID law, a major shift that signaled the priorities of the new administration. The concern was that many advisers were pushing investments with a higher commission for the adviser, rather than a better return for the client. It was assumed to be doomed under the new administration, but Democrats enjoyed a brief moment of celebration in May when Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed that he would allow the rule to take effect in early June. It now appears the celebration was premature.

This week, in a court filing , the Labor Department revealed that it had sent a rule to the White House for review that would delay full implementation of the fiduciary rule for 18 months, until July 1, —enough time for the Trump administration to make significant changes or repeal it altogether. The nuclear waste storage fight warms up Where should America stash its spent nuclear fuel? Then, in June, Energy Secretary Rick Perry announced that he was reconstituting the key office that oversaw the Nevada site for long-term waste storage, setting off protests from Nevada lawmakers and forcing Perry to walk back some of this comments.

This fight is just getting underway. The State Department set up a program to allow the children of parents who are lawfully present in the U. The goal was to reduce the flow of unaccompanied children without leaving them in danger. On Wednesday, the Department of Homeland Security immediately ended the parole component of that program; DHS canceled the approvals of 2, kids who had been conditionally approved for parole but had not received final signoff.

The program was small—about 1, kids had been paroled and entered the United States—but had still angered immigration hawks who said it was too generous to the children. The exact reasons for the drop are unknown, but the parole program may have been part of the reason. The children are still eligible to apply for refugee status without crossing into the U. The end of an Obama health care payment experiment While most of the attention on Obamacare has focused on the individual insurance market and the Medicaid expansion, the law also tests numerous ideas to lower the spiraling cost of health care.

If the hospital could perform the procedure for a lower cost, it kept the difference. If not, it lost money. The Obama administration had begun testing the concept of bundled payments through a few different programs—with mandatory participation by hospitals that take Medicare money. The mandated participation always irked Tom Price, the former congressman and current secretary of Health and Human Services, and this week, he significantly scaled back those programs. Hospitals will no longer be required to participate in a bundled payment program for certain joint replacements in many markets.

Two yet-to-launch bundled care programs—an expansion of the existing joint replacements program and a new program for heart attacks and cardiac surgeries—were canceled altogether. But it does scale back one of the goals of the Affordable Care Act, which was keeping costs under control, and signals that Price, a former physician, will be less aggressive in forcing the new payment system on hospitals, a victory for doctors who are critical of the new payment plans and a defeat for health officials seeking a rapid transition.

This week, EPA said it would reconsider two more rules, one on the toxic discharges from coal plants and another on emissions standards for heavy-duty trucks. The idea was to pressure banks, as potential facilitators of potential financial crimes, to cease doing business with those companies. The program, officially called Operation Choke Point, was heavily criticized by Republicans who said DOJ was targeting legal businesses that the Obama administration just happened to dislike, like payday lenders and gun retailers, without any evidence of wrongdoing.

A flurry of small trade deals In the trade world, all eyes were on Washington where American, Canadian and Mexican officials converged for the first session on renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement. In Colombia, Pence announced that the Colombian government would lift restrictions on a certain type of U.

In Argentina, Pence inked a deal to allow the export of U. But experts also suggested another motive: isolating North Korea. Egypt has historically had ties to North Korea, with North Korean pilots training Egyptian pilots in the s. We have a lot of areas of close cooperation.

The move also created troubles for White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, who was scheduled to meet top Egyptian leaders, including Sisi, this week to talk about the Israeli-Palestinian crisis. Interior could shrink national monuments In his final weeks in office, Obama protected over 1. Republican lawmakers, oil and gas interests and fishing and hunting groups blasted the move and appealed to Trump to review the designations. In April, they got their wish when Trump directed the Interior Department to review all monument designations larger than , acres all the way back to The New York Times later reported that Zinke recommended shrinking at least four monuments.

And if it does, it would be historic—no national monument has been shrunk by a president since The White House changes American research priorities Every year, the government funds billions of dollars in research, from large National Institutes of Health grants to small housing experiments. The sheer magnitude of money gives the government great influence over the direction of research across industries, a hidden lever for a sophisticated administration to guide the country well into the future.

This week, the Trump administration revealed that it intends to use that lever. But these priorities can eventually have big policy implications as researchers focus on certain issues and ignore others. Republicans and Democrats alike have rejected those cuts, so they will not become law. Last week, he wrote, "Amazon is doing great damage to tax paying retailers. Despite those attacks, Amazon had no problem receiving approval from regulators to acquire the grocery giant Whole Foods. The quick approval also assuaged concerns that Trump would attempt to interfere in the regulatory review for political reasons.

The deal is set to close on Monday. Amazon promptly announced that it will cut prices on a wide array of Whole Foods products, from avocados to tilapia, on Monday and intends to introduce benefits at Whole Foods stores for its Prime members. Trump ratchets up sanctions During his first few months in office, Trump attempted to woo Chinese President Xi Jinping, even saying he would relax his trade stance if China applied more pressure to North Korea.

The move is the second time in two months that Trump has sanctioned Chinese entities over North Korea. In addition, on Friday, the White House also announced new sanctions on Venezuela that attempt to cut financing to the country and its state-owned oil company. Police can buy military equipment again In August , after the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown, the streets of Ferguson, Missouri, looked something like a war zone as protesters set fires and police responded with camo-clad snipers and armored vehicles , the result of a decades-long program allowing local law enforcement agencies to receive surplus military equipment.

The controversial image of police rolling in on their own citizens like an army roused Obama into action. Nine months later, his administration prohibited the transfer of certain equipment, such as grenade launchers and armored vehicles, to local police departments and limited the transfer of other items such as drones, riot gear and explosives.

David Mamet's Political Awakening

On Monday, Trump rescinded the Obama-era executive order limiting the transfer of surplus military equipment to local law enforcement agencies. Now police departments can again buy previously restricted guns, ammunition and riot gear, as well as other military-style equipment like grenade launchers, according to a Department of Justice fact sheet. The changes are a victory for local law enforcement agencies that believe the equipment helps keep their officers—and the public—safe. But it was sharply criticized by civil liberties groups and even received some pushback from Republicans like Sen.

Rand Paul. Trump nixes an Obama policy to reduce pay discrimination Last year, the Obama administration made a final attempt to reduce the racial and gender pay gaps, finalizing changes to a form—the EEO-1—that requires employers to report workplace demographics. Under the revised form, employers with more than workers would have to report pay data by race, ethnicity and gender. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the agency responsible for the form changes, could have then used the data to launch an investigation into discrimination.

The changes were set to take effect in March Business groups praised the move, saying the form changes created an unnecessary paperwork burden that would ultimately hurt growth and wages. First, at the end of June, he asked for information from the public about changing the law. Then, this week, the DOL published a proposed rule delaying the effective date 18 months, until July 1, This is just a proposed rule, so the agency must still accept comments and issue a final regulation.

Instead, he has targeted a friendly country much closer to home: Canada. This week, the trade fight with Canada took a bit of a surprising turn when the Commerce Department delayed preliminary antidumping duties on certain Canadian lumber companies to give the two countries additional time to negotiate a settlement. In effect, the delay temporarily lifts the 7 percent to 8 percent duties that Commerce had imposed earlier this summer.

The agency must make a final determination on the duties by November In less surprising news, on Thursday, Commerce opened an investigation into certain types of Canadian paper, the first step toward imposing penalties for unfair trade practices. Together with his limited actions against Chinese trade policy, his agenda appears almost … conventional.

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But the relationship has only spiraled downward as Trump has faced multiple investigations into potential collusion between Trump campaign officials and the Russian government. Things are only getting worse: After Trump reluctantly signed into law new sanctions against Russia, President Vladimir Putin reacted angrily, ordering the U. This week, the Trump administration responded by forcing Russia to close three diplomatic compounds, located in San Francisco, Washington, D. In one of his first actions as president, Trump directed the White House budget office to set an annual cap on regulatory costs for each agency—that is, the total economic costs of all new regulatory and deregulatory actions.

But what would the cap be in fiscal ? And OMB still can issue agencies a waiver if officials deem it necessary. An OMB official did not respond to a request for comment. But it still represents a dramatic shift in how agencies have traditionally regulated. The change made national headlines and provoked immediate outcry from sanctuary cities, which are challenging the policy in court. The change has gone largely unnoticed around the country, but represents perhaps the clearest shift in priorities from the Obama Justice Department to the Trump Justice Department.

In March, he took the first step toward doing just that when he directed the Environmental Protection Agency to review the rule. In fact, the rule has been under review at the White House since early June. Expect to hear more about it soon. DHS suspends some visas for four countries When the government orders someone deported from the U. It requires approval from the receiving country; the U.

Most countries routinely approve such removal orders, but about a dozen countries are uncooperative, preventing the U. On Wednesday, the Trump administration took its first step to force greater cooperation when it imposed visa sanctions on four especially recalcitrant countries—Cambodia, Eritrea, Guinea and Sierra Leone. The sanctions vary for each country. For instance, senior Cambodian diplomatic officials and their families will be unable to get a B visa, which allows temporary entry into the U.

Our reporting digs deep into the important policies, social issues, and cultural trends that matter, bringing the diversity of thought so needed in these times. Join now to help fund this important work. They oppose acknowledging climate change, let alone addressing it. They want yet another round of tax cuts, they oppose gay rights, and they even want to control what Americans can do in their bedrooms.

So funders like these poured millions into imposing their agenda via legislation, think tanks, right-wing media, opposition research centers, candidate recruitment groups, stealth bill-drafting organizations like ALEC , and litigation centers. In effect, they created their own government infrastructure, which works efficiently in the shadows. It is a profoundly anti-democratic movement. Never miss another story. Bannon, of course, went to work for the Trump campaign and became a senior White House advisor. He may be gone from the West Wing, but Trump still consults with him and his extremist philosophy will live on.

For one thing, Trump is refusing to fill necessary positions. Entire agencies have been gutted by his appointees, as Rex Tillerson did with the State Department. Citizens complain that they call federal agencies, and no one is there to answer the phones. The administration likes it that way. They see this administration as an opportunity to push extreme policies while hiding behind Trump. The Republican agenda, executed with the ruthlessness of a Donald Trump and the men who hide behind him, may set the federal government back for decades.

The first clue is that Trump appoints agency heads who either are largely unqualified or have long records of being openly adversarial of the agencies they now lead. The story of Rep. Tom Marino R-Pa. By Gary Feuerberg , Epoch Times. December 7, Updated: December 8, Share. Privatization One can get an idea of the magnitude of economic reform by a comparison with the denationalization in the United Kingdom. Purge Secret Police Of special importance to reform was the harm caused by the former communist secret police.

Residents of Budapest, Hungary, destroy a huge statue of Stalin during a demonstration against the communist domination Nov. Warren Farrell. By Ekaterina Zhelyazkova , Epoch Times. Bulgarian investigative journalist Hristo Hristov uncovered crimes perpetrated by the Bulgarian Communist Party and has been receiving threats ever since. By Leo Timm. China-US News. By Reuters. He worked for a construction company in Blantyre, the commercial center of US News. By Zachary Stieber. President Donald Trump said that he and Jeffrey Epstein had "a falling out" many years ago and had not spoken since.

Trump spoke about his relationship with By Matthew Vadum. California math teacher Karen Siegemund says she was fired for making a speech outside the classroom in defense of Western civilization. Siegemund, president of the Los Angeles-based By Emel Akan. By Mark Tapscott. Josh Hawley R-Mo. A year-old Texas man who was a would-be copycat of the Boston Marathon bombers entered a guilty plea to attempting to provide material support to the overseas Trump Presidency.

By Petr Svab. Dependence on government programs by Americans has diminished during the presidency of Donald Trump, most visible in the shrinking of food stamp enrollment. In the first A Kentucky Democrat who lost a bid for a House of Representatives seat says she's going to challenge longtime Sen. Mitch McConnell R-Ky. Amy McGrath, a By Ivan Pentchoukov.

Crime and Incidents. By Bowen Xiao. Alleged child sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein will agree to give up names of individuals who took part in the trafficking ring he's charged with running—in exchange for The acting director of U. Citizenship and Immigration Services denounced a Democratic congresswoman on July 8 after a report alleged that she used taxpayer money to send President Donald Trump said that recent decisions by the Supreme Court highlight the importance of the election.