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WISH LIST

A House Republicans wish list includes trashing nutrition, Uber drivers, Tesla, and climate policies

The Tea Party has a few requests.
Reuters/Jim Urquhart
The Tea Party has a few requests.
  • Chase Purdy
By Chase Purdy

Food Reporter

This article is more than 2 years old.

Republicans in the US House of Representatives are eager for president-elect Donald Trump to take office, so much so they’ve already sent him a wish list.

The House Freedom Caucus, one of the most conservative wings of the party, has compiled 232 rules, regulations, and executive orders they want Trump to review during his first 100 days as president. The list is broken down by executive branch department, and includes comments summarizing—and in some cases bemoaning—particular regulations.

The document is organized alphabetically, and begins with the US Department of Agriculture, which includes a request to review several of first lady Michelle Obama’s key policy initiatives. In the crosshairs are her work revising the Nutrition Facts Panel to more comprehensively inform consumers of what’s in food products, and also her signature effort to make school meals more nutritious.

“The regulations have proven to be burdensome and unworkable for schools to implement,” the document reads. “Schools are throwing food away that students are not eating.”

Here’s a rundown of other noteworthy regulations the group would like to see addressed:

Gig economy job classification

Republicans want to remove regulations that determine how contractors are classified, which they say disproportionally hurts companies that hire independent contractors, such as Uber and Lyft. The lawmakers seek to permit lower wages and would also like to kill the president’s overtime rule (which is currently in court).

As Quartz has previously reported, companies in the gig economy have made it common practice to hire workers as independent contractors rather than as full-time employees. This may give those contractors more flexibility to set their own schedules, but excludes them from benefits such as health care, a minimum wage, and other protections.

Succor for cigars

Lawmakers are taking aim at a Food and Drug Administration regulation that deems tobacco as subject to the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, which gives the FDA authority to oversee those products’ safety. According to the wish list, Republicans think this unfairly burdens cigar makers.

“The threat of FDA restrictions has loomed over the cigar business ever since the FDA took control over cigarettes,” they wrote. “The worst fear of cigar manufacturers and smokers alike has been that the FDA will impose the same onerous premarket review requirements on cigars that it currently places on cigarettes.”

Transgender discrimination

The Department of Education prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs, and Republicans want Trump to review that rule. In calling his attention to it, they have invoked the transgender bathroom issue.

“Let alone, how burdensome this rule has been in states like North Carolina, Virginia, etc., it also distorts local decision making and places children at risk,” the document reads.

“The Tesla guy”

The Freedom Caucus wants to make hay in the Department of Energy, listing numerous conservation and energy efficiency regulations being used to address climate change. That includes rules on batteries, boilers, air conditioners, battery chargers, and vending machines, among other things. They also tackle the government’s alternative fuels program and push to scrap the Renewable Fuels Standard. In doing so, lawmakers took specific aim at one California tech luminary whom they claim has used government fuel subsidies to build his empire.

“Billions of dollars have been sunk into this program for years,” the lawmakers write. “In fact, Elon Musk, the Tesla guy, has been subsidized by taxpayers to the tune of $4.6 billion.”

Erasing Obama’s immigration protections

The lawmakers have suggested tinkering with or revoking no fewer than 22 executive orders by president Barack Obama that would adopt a more hardline approach to immigration. It includes rules from the visa waiver program to the prioritization of removing undocumented immigrants.

Of course, just because the House Freedom Caucus has submitted a wish list to the president-elect does not mean they’ll get what they want. As unruly and rebellious as the group has been for its own party, there have been murmurs within the Washington beltway about whether the election of Trump will ultimately reduce the group’s sway within the party.

As Politico has reported, the group was once a proud thorn in the Republican Party’s side. But even they admit they risk losing power if they don’t switch up their tactics—which may include becoming de facto congressional foot soldiers for the White House.

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