White House makes 'naked power grab' for independent agencies' regulating authority


Donald Trump has again raised the bar in his efforts to turn the federal government into a tool of big business. Russell Vought, the acting director of the Office of Management and Budget, announced a plan for the White House and Congress to assert control over new policies and regulations set by independent agencies such as the Securities and Exchange Commission and the National Labor Relations Board. Even the Federal Reserve’s ability to make regulations for the banking system would be affected, though it would continue to set monetary policy.

“This is a naked power grab on the part of the Trump administration,” according to Public Citizen’s Lisa Gilbert. “It puts agencies that are necessarily independent and intentionally kept firewalled from the administration right in the cross hairs and newly subject to undue influence.”

That, unfortunately, sounds like an accurate description of what Team Trump would want to be doing. A senior administration official “downplayed the scope” of the change while simultaneously suggesting it would help block policies like Obama-era guidance helping workers misclassified as independent contractors or working in joint employer situations. The Trump administration overturned both of those—and this new move is intended to put such policies under more direct control of the White House and Congress.

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