Trump is considering revoking the security clearances of a variety of ex-officials who have in his view “politicized” their positions by accusing him of having inappropriate contact with Russia. Apparently he believes that the existence of their clearances provides inappropriate legitimacy to accusations with zero evidence [Sarah Sanders, White House Briefing, 7/23/18]
“The Trump administration discouraged the use of race in college admissions and public school enrollment by revoking federal guidance on affirmative action from the Obama era.”
Also withdrawn were Obama-era guidance that allowed transgender students to use bathrooms in accordance with their gender identity.
The Department of Education also spelled out how schools should investigate sexual assault. The goals of the new guidance are designed to safeguard the rights of accused students. [WP, 7/4/18]
Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is set to roll back Obama-era protections for students indebted to for-profit colleges. Most for-profit college revenue is derived from federal sources like Pell Grants and other student aid, and that type of institution is linked to a majority of federal fraud claims. The Obama administration’s protections reduced the amount of federal dollars going to for-profit institutions from $32 billion in 2010 to $16.6 billion in 2017. Rollbacks could lead to that figure rising again. [Heidi Przybyla, NBC News]
Last year the Trump administration insisted that tax cuts were so important it was worth adding $1.5 trillion to the national debt. Now the administration is telling Congress that it cannot afford to add $1.6 billion to the deficit to expand health care options for veterans. [The New Yorker, 7/22/18]
The U.S. Treasury will no longer require certain tax exempt organizations, including politically active non-profits such as the National Rifle Association and Planned Parenthood, to identify their financial donors to U.S. tax authorities. [Reuters, 7/12/18]
On July 13th, the last day of Scott Pruitt’s tenure, the EPA granted a loophole that will allow a major increase in the manufacturing of a diesel freight truck that produces as much as 55 times the air pollution as trucks that have modern emissions controls. [NYT, 7/15/18]
The administration is planning to “freeze fuel-efficiency standards for cars and light trucks for six years” and challenge the right of California and other states to set their own tailpipe standards. [WP, 7/25/18]
At the spring meeting of the United Nations affiliated World Health Assembly, the United States opposed a resolution designed to encourage breastfeeding. First the U.S. delegation tried to water down the resolution by removing language that called on governments to “protect, promote and support breastfeeding and that called on policy makers to restrict the promotion of food products that many experts say can have deleterious effects on young children.
When that effort failed they turned to threats including threatening the country of Ecuador, which planned to introduce the resolution, with punishing trade measures and withdrawal of crucial military aide. [Political Playbook, NYT, 7/18/18]