In a column for the Washington Post, Ruth Marcus highlighted multiple policy changes instituted by President Donald Trump's administration while the press and the public have been focused on his impeachment trial.
"It is worth revisiting what the Trump administration did while Congress was impeaching, from the moment the president’s efforts to use Ukraine as a tool in his reelection campaign was exposed in early September through today," wrote Marcus. "These are not impeachable offenses, but they are the kind of misguided policies that, along with Trump’s impeachable conduct, should be in voters’ mind as the election nears."
First, "The administration revoked one of the most significant Obama-era environmental rules, over 'waters of the United States.' The earlier regulation had expanded federal protection and regulation of such 'waters' to include streams, ponds and even drainage ditches that feed into larger waterways. Environmental groups argue that the change will result in massive loss of wetlands critical for combating climate change and threaten the drinking water supply."
Second, "The administration proposed letting states limit the amounts they spend on Medicaid for poor adults. It invited states to transform that part of Medicaid funding into a block grant and offered them new flexibility to cut coverage and benefits. Block grants are a favored Republican technique to limit entitlement spending, and the administration’s proposal was a way to achieve, in a more limited way, what it was unable to get through even a Republican Congress, which balked at its effort to block-grant Medicaid three years ago."
Third, "The Supreme Court, dividing 5 to 4 along ideological lines, allowed a Trump administration rule to take effect that will make it more difficult for poor immigrants to obtain admission to the United State or secure green cards giving them the permission to live and work here ... The administration also expanded its already unnecessary and poorly implemented travel ban to include six additional countries, mostly in Africa and including the continent’s most populous country, Nigeria, on the grounds that they have not done enough to identify or share information about potential terrorists or criminals."
And more could be coming, wrote Marcus. "The Interior Department is poised to weaken protections for millions of migratory birds, saying companies whose industrial activities kill birds accidentally should not be subjected to fines or prosecution. The Department of Housing and Urban Development is rolling back another Obama-era rule designed to press cities to do more to combat racial segregation in housing. The Agriculture Department moved to tighten eligibility for food stamps in a way that the administration itself estimated would eliminate nearly 700,000 of the poorest adults from the rolls."
"The impeachment process has run its course," wrote Marcus, but "The bad policies of this administration continue."
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