Trump signs Michigan rep’s bill striking energy rule

Staff and wire reports

Washington — President Donald Trump promised to create jobs as he signed a bill sponsored by west Michigan Rep. Bill Huizenga that rolls back a transparency provision of the Dodd-Frank law that overhauled financial regulation after the 2008 financial crisis.

Trump on Tuesday signed legislation eliminating a Securities and Exchange Commission rule that requires oil and gas companies to disclose in detail payments to the U.S. or foreign governments for commercial development.

The bill by Huizenga, the Zeeland Republican, and co-sponsored by Sen. James Inhofe, R-Oklahoma, was the first Trump has signed into law since becoming president, except for a waiver allowing retired Marine Gen. James Mattis to serve as defense secretary.

Trump said the legislation was part of an effort to bring back jobs “big league.”

“We’re bringing them back at the plant level. We’re bringing them back at the mine level. The energy jobs are coming back,” he said.

The president thanked Huizenga as well as House Speaker Paul Ryan, both of whom attended the Oval Office ceremony.

The bill passed Congress under the 1996 Congressional Review Act, which gives lawmakers a window to undo regulations passed by the previous administration with a simple majority of the Senate, rather than the 60 needed to overcome a filibuster.

“This is the first CRA that has been signed by the president,” Huizenga said, standing at Trump’s side.

“Over 20 years, there’s been 56,000 rules that have been put in place with very little legislative input or oversight. It’s time that changed. ... We think this is a very good first step, so thank you, Mr. President.”

In a statement, the White House said the SEC rule had created an “unfair advantage” for foreign-owned extraction companies and that Huizenga’s bill removes a “costly impediment to American extraction companies helping their workers succeed.”

When it finalized the rule in July, the SEC said the regulation would advance U.S. foreign policy interests by promoting greater transparency about payments related to the extraction of resources such as oil, natural gas or minerals.