Trump, Allies Take Aim at Health, Safety, and Environment
Donald Trump ran for president with a stated agenda of rolling back regulatory safeguards that protect our health, safety, and the environment, and upon election surrounded himself with like-minded and outspoken opponents of such protections. Meanwhile, the Republican majorities in both houses of Congress have for the last several years sought to block the Environmental Protection Agency, the Food and Drug Administration, and other protector agencies from carrying out their statutory missions of protecting people and the environment. Although opposition to regulation in general has long been a staple of right-wing politics, the reality is that the regulations that breathe life into such landmark statutes as the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Occupational Safety and Health Act, the Food Safety Modernization Act, and more have had a profoundly positive effect over the years, saving lives, protecting against illness, preserving the natural environment, preventing on-the-job injuries, and more.
For example, Clean Air Act regulations save tens of thousands of lives a year. And the list of now commonplace reforms that have had a powerful impact on society is long — including safety belts in automobiles, various accommodations for Americans with disabilities, protections for the nation's food supply, bans on dangerous chemicals, limits on air and water pollution, and more.
But opponents of regulation, motivated chiefly by corporate profit, ignore that record, and when their allies in Washington are in power, they inevitably press for rollbacks of safeguards.
In a CPRBlog post published two weeks after Trump’s election, CPR Member Scholar and Board Member Thomas McGarity predicted that Trump, in concert with conservative allies in Congress, would launch what amounted to a “fifth assault” on regulatory safeguards, tracing the history of four previous sustained attacks dating back the late 1970s.
As the Trump team geared up, CPR Member Scholars and staff launched a new initiative to document and combat the coming Trump Assault on Our Safeguards.
Read recent CPR papers on the Assault on Our Safeguards