Why Trump Is Painting a Rosy Picture on Red Tape
Donald Trump says he’s cut more federal regulations than any U.S. president “during their entire term.” The data tell a different story.
A Bloomberg News review found that only a handful of regulations have been struck from the books since Trump took office, including an Obama-era measure to deter the mentally ill from buying firearms. It’s a far cry from the almost 1,000 regulations that the White House touts as it approaches the new year still hunting for a big legislative win.
Trump’s claims are based almost entirely on stopping proposed rules that haven’t yet been finalized. And many of those — like the Environmental Protection Agency’s effort to regulate forest roads, which it abandoned in July 2016 — were effectively dead before Trump’s inauguration.
The stakes are high as Republicans head into a pivotal week in their effort to pass a sweeping tax overhaul. They’re also engaged in fraught talks to avoid a government shutdown three days before Christmas.
Should they fail on both fronts, Trump’s self-proclaimed record on cutting red tape may end up being his biggest policy selling point at the start of a midterm election year.
May’s fragile truce tested | Cracks are already forming in U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May’s hard-won deal to unlock divorce talks with the European Union. Dublin is balking at Brexit Secretary David Davis’s suggestion that pledges on keeping the Irish border open weren’t actually binding. His attempt to placate hardliners backfired, and he’s trying to patch things up with the Irish.
Bannon the savior? | If embattled Republican Roy Moore wins tomorrow’s U.S. Senate election in Alabama — a feat that weeks ago looked tenuous — he’ll largely have Steve Bannon to thank. Joshua Green explores the former White House chief strategist’s role in engineering Moore’s rebound after he became a flashpoint in the firestorm over misbehavior by powerful men.
Europe’s worries shift east | Warsaw is on London’s heels and rapidly becoming one of the EU’s biggest headaches, as Poland’s de facto leader, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, installs another prime minister who has backed the ruling party’s campaign to seize greater control over the courts. The risk of a protracted fight with Brussels is growing as EU officials mull whether to get tough with the bloc’s biggest net aid recipient.
Putin’s Mideast victory lap | Russian President Vladimir Putin is showing off his newly strengthened standing in the Middle East with a whirlwind 3-countries-in-1-day tour today. First was a surprise visit to Syria to declare victory in his military operation in support of President Bashar al Assad and order the start of the withdrawal of troops. Next up is a Cairo stop to boost economic and military ties, followed by a visit to NATO ally Turkey in the evening for talks on the terms of the post-war settlement in Syria.
Mandela’s dream in tatters | When Nelson Mandela led the African National Congress to power at the end of apartheid, South Africa and the world rejoiced at the dawn of a democratic “rainbow nation.” Almost a quarter century later, violence, lawsuits and allegations of bribery are marring the race to succeed President Jacob Zuma as the party leader — between his deputy and his preferred choice, his ex-wife — that’s threatening to split Africa's oldest political movement.
And finally... Add the Mediterranean island of Corsica to Europe’s growing list of autonomy questions. The French region — less than 350 miles (560 kilometers) from the independence debates in Spain’s Catalonia — yesterday elected a coalition seeking greater freedom from Paris. While the group, Pe a Corsica, has ruled out mounting a secessionist push in Napoleon’s birthplace, they want a local residency status that could test the national constitution’s insistence on equality among all French citizens.
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