Scott Pruitt will be sworn in shortly as the EPA’s new administrator — a Cabinet-level post.

The New York Times went up last night with a story on how EPA employees fought his nomination tooth and nail, illustrating the challenges he will face in his new position:

Many of the scientists, environmental lawyers and policy experts who work in E.P.A. offices around the country say the calls are a last resort for workers who fear a nominee selected to run an agency he has made a career out of fighting — by a president who has vowed to “get rid of” it.
“Mr. Pruitt’s background speaks for itself, and it comes on top of what the president wants to do to E.P.A.,” said John O’Grady, a biochemist at the agency since the first Bush administration and president of the union representing the E.P.A.’s 15,000 employees nationwide….
“At this point, it’s just, ‘call your senator,'” Mr. O’Grady, the union president, said. “We plan on more demonstrations, more rallies. I think you will see the employees’ union reaching out to N.G.O.s and having alliances with them,” he added, referring to nongovernmental organizations. “We’re looking at working with P.R. firms.”

The Times piece includes interviews with employees who insist on anonymity. The employees’ union, however, in a very public way, seems determined to make itself the leader of an effort not to advocate for federal employment policy, but to rally bureaucrats behind environmental policies different from whatever the U.S. government’s elected branches adopt.

“It is rare,” said James A. Thurber, the director of the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies at American University. “I can’t think of any other time when people in the bureaucracy have done this.

There’s a reason this is so rare. It might not technically violate the Hatch Act, but any effort to use one’s official civil service position and its authority to policies other than those of the executive branch walks right up to the line.

You don’t have to be fond of President Trump to appreciate that there can only be three branches of the government of the United States. Congress and the courts are the mechanisms that keep Trump in check. There can be no competing, unelected fourth branch from within the bureaucracy that attempts to do this.

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, put it this way yesterday in his interview with us, when one of our editors asked whether the bureaucracy could serve as a “mediating influence” on the White House:

I don’t think the Executive Branch is ever itself supposed to be a check on the Executive Branch. And the Executive Branch is the presidency…I think in order for separation of powers to work, you’ve got to respect the integrity of each branch as a coordinate branch…But the bureaucracy itself, no, that’s not a constitutional check and balance. It might be a check but it’s not a constitutional check and balance. And I think the net effect of that might well be to undermine rather than enhance separation of powers.

Pelosi: Trump already lagging behind Obama

Also from the Washington Examiner

Pelosi noted in 2009, Obama had already signed into law his $800 billion economic stimulus bill.

02/17/17 10:21 AM

He’s right. Bureaucrats don’t have to violate the laws of the United States at a president’s direction; but by the same token they have no right to make national policy of their own. All of their authority derives from the president and his appointees, whom they also lack the authority to choose.

If people at the EPA want to make policy, they should quit and run for Congress. That’s how you earn that privilege — not by thinking yourself smart or passing a civil service exam.

WH denies it's considering using soldiers for immigration crackdown

Top Story

“That’s False. Not true,” a spokesperson for the administration said.

By Gabby Morrongiello

02/17/17 10:39 AM

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