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Trump purges Obama’s ‘blacklisting’ rule

By   /   March 27, 2017  /   News  /   No Comments

Contractors and subcontractors who faced onerous and intrusive self-reporting requirements in order to get a gig with the federal government have had one burden lifted from their backs.

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President Donald Trump on Monday signed into law a bill that wipes off the books the Obama administration’s 2014 “Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces” executive order. Better known as the “blacklisting rule,” it mandated that companies bidding on federal jobs of $500,000 or more self-report alleged violations of 14 federal labor laws.

The government claimed the rule was needed to prevent contracts from going to companies that unlawfully deny overtime wages, discriminate in hiring or pay or endanger workers’ safety.

Critics cited the cost — $454.6 million in just the first year to comply — and the lack of due process.

RELATED: Lawsuit filed over federal ‘blacklisting’ rule

The rule was to take effect last October, but a federal judge blocked it with an injunction sought by several trade groups, including Associated Builders and Contractors. House Republicans then used the Congressional Review Act to legislatively finish it off.

“The rule violated the due process rights of contractors by forcing them to report mere allegations of misconduct — which are often frivolous and filed with nefarious intentions by special interest groups — the same as fully adjudicated violations,” Ben Brubeck, vice president of regulatory, labor and state affairs for ABC, said in a prepared statement.

In addition to the blacklisting rule, Trump signed three other CRA measures, including the Bureau of Land Management Planning 2.0 Rule, the Teacher Preparation Rule and, the Education Accountability Rule.

“Federal meddling and micromanagement continues to undermine our rights and disrupt the American people’s daily lives,” said House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy. “The American people want to live their lives without having to constantly look to Washington for approval.”

RELATED: Meet federal ‘blacklisting czar’ Lafe Solomon

In the meantime, the Pacific Legal Foundation has launched a new website called Red Tape Rollback, to highlight and track federal regulations that could be targeted for CRA repeal.

“Because the costly and intrusive blacklisting rule has been disapproved by both Congress and the president under the CRA, it is not only blocked for now but no future administration can impose a substantially similar rule,” staff attorney Jonathan Wood told Watchdog. “For that reason, disapproving a rule under the CRA strikes a huge blow for governmental accountability and against the administrative state.”

But Wood said Congress needs help, and that’s where Red Tape Rollback comes in.

“Our goal is to bring this problem to light and enlist the countless individuals, small businesses, and organizations who are unfairly subjected to illegal rules to help us identify all of the thousands and thousands of rules that can be eliminated with the CRA.”

Kathy Hoekstra is a national regulatory reporter for Watchdog.org. Contact her [email protected] and @khoekstra.