Fight Over Methane Intensifies as Healthcare and Taxes Simmer
June 20, 2017
Environmental groups have brought the fight over methane regulation to the court system, hoping to slow President Trump’s push for deregulation. The House and Senate are still grappling with healthcare and taxes, with little progress visible yet. President Trump is also taking unilateral action to protect domestic steel, which could cause international problems.
- A frantic scramble to influence the Senate’s healthcare legislation intensified, with House conservatives pressuring their allies in the Senate. The pace of activity is picking up ahead of the informal July 4 deadline set by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for a vote. McConnell is walking a tightrope in seeking to win over centrists and conservatives for a Senate version of the House-passed American Health Care Act — which is being negotiated entirely behind closed doors. [The Hill]
- The fight over former President Barack Obama’s methane agenda has moved to the courts. The Trump administration last week took two major steps toward wiping a pair of Obama-era methane pollution rules off the books. Environmental groups have sued to stop President Trump from nixing the rules, though the oil and gas industry has stepped up to defend the administration’s actions. Taken together, observers expect a raucous, lengthy legal fight over the standards, which were a key part of Obama’s climate change agenda. [The Hill]
- House Speaker Paul Ryan expressed continued confidence that Republicans can deliver a groundbreaking set of tax-policy changes this year. Tax policy would gain momentum if Republicans can pass a health law that repeals parts of former President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act and cuts hundreds of billions of dollars in taxes that wouldn’t have to be addressed as part of a tax plan. Failure on health care would create complications for a tax bill, but it might also create a new sense of urgency. [WSJ]
Economic Indicators & News
- Trump’s plan to curb steel imports exercises a power that is rarely used—and potentially destabilizing. Mr. Trump is dusting off little-used presidential powers rooted in a claim rarely invoked in world commerce—one that has the potential to destabilize the global postwar trading regime. While Trump is not the first president to shield the long-troubled steel industry from imports, none has made steel protectionism so central to his political persona, branding prior import limits insufficient. [WSJ]