In an example of acting on the oft-repeated Republican promise to take the burden of big government off the shoulders of taxpayers, Texas Republican Rep. Sam Johnson is sponsoring a bill to save taxpayers billions of dollars a year.
The target of Johnson’s legislation is that most cherished of federal agencies by Democrats: the Environmental Protection Agency.
Johnson’s bill, the Wasteful EPA Program’s Elimination Act, would cut the EPA budget and eliminate its bizarre climate change programs, such as regulations on ground-level ozone pollution.
If implemented, Johnson’s bill could save taxpayers $7.5 billion a year by reducing the EPA budget to under $1 billion.
The cuts would put the agency in the real estate business, as they would, in addition to eliminating their climate change programs, be forced to close their regional offices and lease the unused property.
With this bill, Johnson is practicing what he preached on the campaign trail.
“As a fiscal conservative, I believe Washington should be a good steward of taxpayer dollars,” Johnson said.
For those who pine for the waste-cutting small government philosophy of Ronald Reagan, Johnson seems to echo the former president so cherished by conservatives.
“Part of being a good steward includes reining in unnecessary spending, holding agencies accountable for ‘waste,’ and getting rid of politicians’ ‘pet projects.’ For example, American taxpayers shouldn’t have to pay for the EPA’s many vacant and underutilized properties that the EPA’s own Inspector General identified as wasteful,” Johnson said in a statement announcing his legislation.
This attempt is not the first time Johnson tried to cut the EPA budget via legislation. He introduced a similar bill in 2015 but could not get congressional support.
Now Johnson hopes that with a president who has promised to cut government waste his bill might have a chance.
Johnson’s bill is modeled on the private sector arguments for dealing with the environment contained in a 2016 Heritage Foundation Report analysis of Obama’s budget plans for the same year.
Against Obama’s spending going over the post-World War II presidential budget average, the Heritage report made the case that the private sector could do a much better job than the administration.
According to the Heritage foundation, “The private sector has extended nuclear power plant lives, reduced methane emissions by capturing them and selling them, improved energy efficiency use to save money, and invested in alternative fuel technologies—all without handouts from the government.”
By contrast, the Obama administration requested $7.4 billion for “clean energy technology programs,” despite not pursuing alternative energy programs, and cleaner versions of coal.
The authors of the report regarded the market as a better indicator of what policies are working or not.
The report stated that “Profits and losses are a better indicator of whether a project or an idea should move forward as opposed to using taxpayer money to force products into the marketplace.”
The EPA has long been a symbol of the Democratic Party growing government and wasting taxpayer dollars on faulty research. Created by the Republican, but in point of fact domestically liberal, President Richard Nixon in 1970, the EPA’s budget since then has been between $7.6 billion to $8.4 billion.
But the EPA wasn’t always the agency infamous for closing down industries and losing employees their jobs on behalf of spotted owls.
From 1970 to 1993, the EPA was more focused on cancer prevention than protecting supposedly endangered animals.
Under Obama, the EPA not only grew but also became increasingly corrupt and politicized. In 2016, officials from the Government Accountability Office, a non-partisan group that works for Congress in investigating how the federal government spends taxpayer dollars, uncovered illegal propaganda and lobbying efforts by the EPA. Moreover, the Obama administration may have been aiding said efforts.
The EPA illegally used a social media site called Thunderclap which, according to the Government Accountability Office, was used “to correct what” the EPA” viewed as misinformation.” The illegal actions consisted of the EPA asking members of the public to peddle the agency’s carefully-prepared propaganda on Facebook and Twitter without users sourcing where the “information” was coming from.
Federal law demands that federal agencies like the EPA cannot lobby for environmental-friendly legislation. Nevertheless the EPA violated federal law by lobbying members of the public to”urge your senators to defend Clean Water Act safeguards for critical streams and wetlands.”
Obama himself may have illegally aided the EPA’s radical agenda by constructing a dubious legal strategy on behalf of radical environmental groups financially nourished by government grants. These cash-rich environmental groups would sue the federal government for failing to meet Obama’s regulatory demands. Then the groups met secretly with the administration to construct a settlement agreement with the federal government that forced said government to relent and meet the original regulatory demands.
In addition, the EPA, in a further instance of using what the Government Accountability Office called “cover propaganda,” used its powers for other ideological purposes. In this case, the EPA used its powers for politically correct purposes by battling so-called discrimination under the rubric of “environmental justice.” The agency defined “environmental justice” in terms usually reserved for civil rights legislation. The EPA defined “environmental justice” as”the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies.”
Hence, like so much else with big government programs, Johnson, by attempting to cut the EPA budget, is doing more than just trimming government waste in, among other schemes, chasing supposed climate change. He is also striking a blow against corruption and the unlawful politicization of an agency designed to be apolitical.
The EPA under the Chicago resident Obama may be the strongest example of what happens when the Chicago way of governing by any means necessary meets radical environmentalism.
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