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Ryan releases plan to roll back Obama regulations

House speaker Paul Ryan will take aim at rules governing the environment, labor and financial institutions as he introduces the third plank of his agenda project on Tuesday. EPA/JIM LO SCALZO

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wisc.) released a broad GOP proposal Tuesday to roll back federal regulations on a wide range of issues including the environment, labor and rules on financial institutions following the 2008 economic crisis.

The aim is to give states more control over of the regulatory process and it is the third installment in Ryan’s agenda project, which the speaker launched earlier this year to allow rank-and-file members to help craft a policy blueprint ahead of the election in November.

Ryan plans to continue rolling out the remaining three segments–on tax reform, healthcare and the constitution–ahead of the party’s nominating convention in July.

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The  57-page document to compiles a detailed list of bills that GOP members have introduced to dismantle many of President Obama’s signature reforms like the Clean Power Plan and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform bill. It also includes a proposal to repeal “all climate-change regulations under the Clean Air Act.”

The proposals could provide areas of common ground between House Republicans and presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump. Ryan and Trump have had an uneasy relationship in recent weeks as Republicans in Washington have tried to grapple with how to embrace their party’s often unpredictable nominee.

Trump has been critical of Obama’s regulatory regime, going so far as to say he would eliminate the Environmental Protection Agency and repeal Dodd-Frank. Ryan said Tuesday that believes Trump shares policy goals with the House GOP.

“We feel very confident that our presumptive nominee is comfortable with this agenda,” Ryan told reporters at an event outside the Labor Department.

Republicans have long argued that Obama’s focus on government regulation has hindered economic growth by preventing entrepreneurs and businesses from growing the economy. The GOP outline frames the full slate of reforms as a key element of the party’s economic agenda.

“What federal agencies need more than anything else is some humility,” the report reads. “At the very least, new and existing federal regulations can be modernized to inflict far less economic pain.”

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Meanwhile Democrats criticized the GOP proposals as dangerous for workers and the environment.

“Economic studies have shown that regulations help our economy, not burden it,” said Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee. “More importantly, regulations ensure better working conditions, a cleaner environment, and safer and more innovative products.”

Unlike previous planks of Ryan’s agenda, the regulatory portion focuses heavily on existing legislation that has been drafted or passed in the House. By including specific bills and actions the document provides a more specific outline of how a GOP-led Congress could work to dismantle Obama’s reforms.

The opportunity to find common ground over policy proposals could be a welcome change for Republicans who have been forced in recent weeks to answer a battery of questions about Trump’s statements on Muslim immigrants, racially-charged criticism of a judge of Mexican descent and repeatedly calling Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) “Pocahontas.”

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The House GOP proposal could also have broad appeal for Republicans in the Senate. A large portion of the document focuses on increasing U.S. energy production by slashing regulations on the coal industry, a pet issue for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). It also includes reducing hurdles for companies looking to expand offshore drilling or tap into resources on federal lands.