10 recent moves leaders claim COVID-19 makes necessary

  • President Trump refused to reopen enrollment for the Affordable Care Act for the dozens of states where people unemployed because of the pandemic also lost company-provided health insurance.
  • Trump increased anti-drug patrols, saying last month, “This will impact the coronavirus because people are trying to get in.”
  • The White House intensified border restrictions and asylum claims March 20 by bypassing court-ordered due process and immediately deporting people entering the nation without documents, causing Andrew Selee, Migration Policy Institute director, to comment, “The coronavirus may go away, but there’s a chance you could see these measures stay in place long after epidemic begins to recede.”
  • Six states used the COVID-19 virus as an excuse to restrict abortion, and though judges stopped such moves in Iowa, Ohio and Oklahoma, an appeals court covering Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas on April 7 upheld the effort.
  • The National Labor Relations Board in March referred to the coronavirus when it suspended all union elections. After a backlash from organized labor and others, the NLRB reversed its decision in April.
  • U.S. EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler on March 26 eliminated enforcement of environmental standards for the duration of the pandemic.
  • A drastic reduction in fuel-efficiency standards (which even the auto industry opposes) was finalized March 31 while most of the nation was riveted on pandemic news.
  • Trump stepped up his defiance of checks and balances, last month firing two inspectors general and criticizing a third after signing the CARES Act rescue bill but issuing a signing statement disputing anyone supervising how funds are disbursed, commented, “I’ll be the oversight.”
  • Voting is jeopardized. Some states postponed primaries; Wisconsin ran an election despite dangers to voters.
  • Last, but far from least, Attorney General Williams Barr in mid-March asked Congress for the power to indefinitely jail suspects without trial during emergencies such as the coronavirus crisis.

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