Trump spent four years gutting food and farm protections. Here’s what we predict will be reversed on day one of Biden’s term.

 

by H. Claire Brown + Jessica Fu + Sam Bloch, The Counter

11.12.2020

 

The Counter’s guide to Trump’s signature rollbacks—and our predictions on their survival in 2021.

 

Here’s a post-election reality check for these abbreviated, early-winter days: Congress will still be narrowly divided when President-elect Joe Biden takes office in January. He’ll face two sprawling bureaucracies central to food and farm policy that have been dramatically weakened during President Trump’s tenure. The agriculture department (USDA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), both hollowed out by mass employee exoduses earlier this year, were demoralized by the record losses.

 

But as President Trump has demonstrated throughout his White House tenure, the commander-in-chief can still get a lot done on his own.

 

Under the current administration, USDA has authorized tens of billions of dollars in direct payments to farmers to mitigate the damages of Trump’s trade disputes—all with little oversight. It has used obscure rules to deter potential green card applicants from seeking food assistance. And it has chipped away at the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), one arcane adjustment at a time.

 

The regulatory rollback spree commenced almost immediately after President Trump’s January 2017 inauguration. It’s not uncommon for incoming administrations to undo some of their predecessors’ controversial initiatives: during his first 100 days, President Obama rolled back Bush II-era policies that limited the power of unions, and lifted a ban on stem-cell research. And because many Obama-era food and farming reforms were implemented toward the end of his tenure, the incoming Trump administration had a relatively easy time retracting rules that were never implemented, including those that protected contract farmers and established animal welfare standards for organic meat.

 

In February, President Trump signed an executive order aimed at dismantling a provision of the Clean Water Act long maligned by influential farm groups. Shortly after, USDA published an interim final rule that relaxed some of the school nutrition standards championed by former First Lady Michelle Obama.

 

In January 2021, President-elect Biden will have the opportunity to roll back the rollbacks, to re-regulate the de-regulated. These are changes he can make without the aid of Congress; Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell may slow down the process of confirming his Secretary of Agriculture, but his reach doesn’t extend to the rulemaking process.

 

In many cases, Biden won’t have to do much to ensure the Trump administration’s most controversial food and farming policies never see the light of day. In others, he’ll need to go to court or issue executive orders. Still more will require Congressional action or a lengthy rulemaking process. 

 

Here’s your guide to the Trump administration’s signature rollbacks—and our predictions on their survival in 2021.

 

Make SNAP restrictive again ...

 

... Likelihood of a Biden rollback: High...

 

Salt, fat, refined grains, heat ...

 

... Likelihood of a Biden rollback: Fairly likely...

 

Put America’s water last ... 

 

... Likelihood of a Biden rollback: Likely...

 

 High-speed chase...

 

... Raise line speed limits at poultry and pork processing plants...

 

... Likelihood of a Biden rollback: Unclear...

 

more, including links  

https://thecounter.org/trump-regulation-usda-epa-biden-harris/