Hey, look over there! At the shiny Libby outrage! You're right to be pissed about that but something is sneaking under the radar right now and I think it deserves wider attention. House Democrats are at war with George W. right now and they deserve praise and affirmation because they are doing the right thing: nothing short of stopping another phase in the extension of the unitary executive.
The AP's story on it has this headline:
Bush order spurs conflict with Democrats
The tone is "Oh those pesky democrats just being contrary." OMB Watch really has a much more informative title to their analyis: House Moves to Curb Bush Regulatory Power Grab. Cause its not just conflict for conflict's sake. Its about how much you're worth to Bush's corporate patrons.
Unitary executive, really just a polite way to say fascism. The creep continues with Executive Order 13422,Executive Order: Further Amendment to Executive Order 12866 on Regulatory Planning and Review. Clearly, using this level of bureaucratese to kill people is too complex to have originated from Bush, so I think Cheney's hand is at work here. From the AP:
President Bush this month is giving an obscure White House office new powers over regulations affecting health, worker safety and the environment.
Well that's just f'in wonderful, cause I'm sure they'll do a good job at that. OMB Watch has a thorough analysis here, summarized below:
*"The executive order shifts the criterion for promulgating regulations from the identification of a problem like public health or environmental protection to the identification of a "specific market failure (such as externalities, market power, lack of information)...that warrant new agency action.
*"It makes the agencies’ Regulatory Policy Officer a presidential appointee and gives that person the authority to approve any commencement or inclusion of any rulemaking in the Regulatory Plan, unless specifically otherwise authorized by the agency head.It requires each agency to estimate the "combined aggregate costs and benefits of all its regulations planned for that calendar year to assist with the identification of priorities.
*"It requires "significant" guidance documents to go through the same OMB review process as proposed regulations before agencies can issue them.It also requires "economically significant" guidance documents (those that are estimated to have at least a $100 million effect on the economy, among other criteria) to go through the same OMB review process as "significant" regulations.
Really, its quite stunning. A political operative in the rule making position at every agency, every fucking agency that has anything to do with health and safety or the very commons that the Republicans enjoy raping every other generation or so. I think its all ready in place and operating, screw waiting till July. I saw this story in the Seattle P-I a few weeks ago and it struck me as quite odd:
Weyerhaeuser got to edit U.S. letter on logging, owls
Fish and Wildlife Service defends move
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service offered a Weyerhaeuser Co. executive the opportunity to edit a letter the agency was sending the timber company regarding "concerns" about Weyerhaeuser logging harming spotted owls.
And an internal Weyerhaeuser memo prepared for a meeting with a Bush administration official shows the company wants to do as little as possible to get environmentalists off its back while still cutting as much timber as possible.
Of course, you're not surprised, this is what these guys are famous for, this corporatism on steroids. But now its going to be institutionalized, become part of the structure where as before this last stretch of the Bush reign they would even at times act shocked that things like this took place in agencies they ran, while they had turned a blind eye to it. You would think Republicans would be outraged by this, because it could just get turned around on their benefactors if god forbid something beside a Republican sat in the White House and reaped the rewards of George W's boundary pushing. But no, right now only Dems are putting up the fight to preserve what's left of the integrity of the federal bureacracy (yeah right!):
Last week, the House passed the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill (HR 2829). The bill contains an amendment which would forbid the White House from expending any funds in implementing President Bush's recent changes to the regulatory process.
The amendment, offered by Reps. Brad Miller (D-NC) and Linda Sanchez (D-CA) states, "None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to implement Executive Order 13422." E.O. 13422 amended E.O. 12866 which governs the White House regulatory review process.
The appropriations bill funds the entire Executive Office of the President. Therefore, this amendment would stop the White House Office of Management and Budget and the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) from expending any money in carrying out the E.O. Most notably, OIRA would not be allowed to review agency guidance documents.
The same approach to fourthbranch's claim: choke the bastard off at the wallet (apologies to all the bastards out there). Thank you Reps Miller and Sanchez. Its good to know your keeping an eye on stuff like this. Now for enforcement.