The Washington Post reports that some of the One’s first actions as Pres. will be to reverse several of President George W. Bush’s executive orders:
Obama himself has signaled, for example, that he intends to reverse Bush’s controversial limit on federal funding of embryonic stem cell research, a decision that scientists say has restrained research into some of the most promising avenues for defeating a wide array of diseases, such as Parkinson’s.
Bush’s August 2001 decision pleased religious conservatives who have moral objections to the use of cells from days-old human embryos, which are destroyed in the process.
But Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) said that during Obama’s final swing through her state in October, she reminded him that because the restrictions were never included in legislation, Obama “can simply reverse them by executive order.” Obama, she said, “was very receptive to that.” Opponents of the restrictions have already drafted an executive order he could sign.
The new president is also expected to lift a so-called global gag rule barring international family planning groups that receive U.S. aid from counseling women about the availability of abortion, even in countries where the procedure is legal, said Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. When Bill Clinton took office in 1993, he rescinded the Reagan-era regulation, known as the Mexico City policy, but Bush reimposed it.
“We have been communicating with his transition staff” almost daily, Richards said. “We expect to see a real change.”
AS has been noted in multiple venues, we are currently funding placental and umbilical cord stem cell research. It would be folly to fund embryonic stem cell research as long as Roe v. Wade is law in the U.S. If embryonic stem cell research is funded, whereby cells from a destroyed pre-born infant are used, we would only be a stone’s throw away from federally funded abortions. Once something becomes federally funded it can only expand in that direction. If Roe v. Wade were to be reversed, federal funding of embryonic stem cell research would not be as much of an issue because the issue of abortion would be a state issue whereby each state can adopt whatever abortion laws they want. It would not be a federal issue so any action with regard to embryonic stem cells would neither expand nor contract the right to terminate a human life in utero.
With regard to the Mexico City rule Ed Morissey writes:
While American voters feel some ambiguity on abortion, they overwhelmingly do not want their tax dollars paying for or facilitating abortions. The Mexico City rule forbade federal funds to be used to facilitate the acquisition of abortions by groups abroad, much as the Hyde Amendment prohibited federal funds to be used in the same manner domestically. If Obama rescinds it, he can expect a great deal of outrage from pro-life groups and a reopening of the debate over the use of tax money to procure abortions anywhere.
In addition, on the energy/environmental front:
While Obama said at a news conference last week that his top priority would be to stimulate the economy and create jobs, his advisers say that focus will not delay key shifts in social and regulatory policies, including some — such as the embrace of new environmental safeguards — that Obama has said will have long-term, beneficial impacts on the economy.
The president-elect has said, for example, that he intends to quickly reverse the Bush administration’s decision last December to deny California the authority to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from automobiles. “Effectively tackling global warming demands bold and innovative solutions, and given the failure of this administration to act, California should be allowed to pioneer,” Obama said in January.
California had sought permission from the Environmental Protection Agency to require that greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles be cut by 30 percent between 2009 and 2016, effectively mandating that cars achieve a fuel economy standard of at least 36 miles per gallon within eight years. Seventeen other states had promised to adopt California’s rules, representing in total 45 percent of the nation’s automobile market. Environmentalists cheered the California initiative because it would stoke innovation that would potentially benefit the entire country.
“An early move by the Obama administration to sign the California waiver would signal the seriousness of intent to reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign oil and build a future for the domestic auto market,” said Kevin Knobloch, president of the Union of Concerned Scientists.
Before the election, Obama told others that he favors declaring that carbon dioxide emissions are endangering human welfare, following an EPA task force recommendation last December that Bush and his aides shunned in order to protect the utility and auto industries.
Robert Sussman, who was the EPA’s deputy administrator during the Clinton administration and is now overseeing EPA transition planning for Obama, wrote a paper last spring strongly recommending such a finding. Others in the campaign have depicted it as an issue on which Obama is keen to show that politics must not interfere with scientific advice.
More than a suspect economic policy, nothing in the nascent Messiah administration scares me more than his energy policy. We are only a baby steps away from cap and trade. The One has showed an unwillingness to drill for new energy, to build safe nuclear power plants, and to expand clean coal. In fact, he believes his policies, specifically cap and trade, would bankrupt the coal industry. We, the American people will be left with a rising electricity bill and rising oil prices while we act as a test kitchen for alternative methods of generating energy, many if not all of which are bound to fail.