From catfish to kombucha: It's not just Obamacare that conservatives want Trump to repeal

Mark Meadows, chairman of the House Freedom Caucus.

Mark Meadows, chairman of the House Freedom Caucus.  (The Associated Press)

Tis the season. As children across the nation write to Santa to tell him what they want to find under the tree on Christmas morning, a group of the House’s staunchest conservatives sent President-elect Donald Trump a wish list of regulations enacted by Barack Obama that they want to see scrapheaped.

House Freedom Caucus Chairman Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., gave Trump’s transition team a 21-page document listing the federal rules, regulations and executive orders implemented under Obama that the caucus wants either revoked or revised.

“These last 8 years, we have seen a disturbing trend of the federal government unnecessarily inserting themselves more and more into the lives of hardworking Americans – and the results have been economically disastrous,” Meadows said in a statement. “When the American people spoke on Nov. 8, they provided conservatives with an opportunity to restore order in our government and to remove the out-of-control bureaucratic red tape that so often stunts the growth of otherwise successful American [businesses].” 

During the presidential campaign, Trump promised to loosen government restrictions, and the Freedom Caucus intends to hold the president-elect to that vow.

Their list includes all the usual suspects that have frustrated GOP lawmakers during the last eight years – the Affordable Care Act, the Export-Import Bank and Obama’s environmental initiatives.

But among the 228 items are some more obscure regulations like ones on catfish, breath mints and kombucha.


In 2008, driven by increased competition from Asia, the domestic catfish industry asked for more government regulation. Congress agreed and planned to switch the inspection of both foreign- and domestically-raised catfish from the Food and Drug Administration to the more stringent Department of Agriculture.

The transition, however, has taken eight years (and counting), and catfish producers are worried that the new inspection process will hurt an already beleaguered industry and cost hundreds of jobs in the rural South.

The FDA’s catfish inspection program costs taxpayers $700,000 per year; the USDA regulations will run taxpayers $14 million annually, plus an additional $20 million in one-time implementation costs.

Ceiling fans

The administration has put conservation standards on everything from air conditioners to ovens as part of its energy and environmental plan.

While the Freedom Caucus takes offense with pretty much all of them, they reserve a special disdain for the standards placed on ceiling fans, which has cost taxpayers around $2.4 million.

“The conservation rules are a part of the green agenda being pushed by the left,” Meadow’s report to Trump stated. “They’re costly, benefit only certain providers and dramatically affect markets like real estate and construction.”

Breath mints

The White House’s push for Americans to eat more healthily drew fire throughout Meadow’s report, but the FDA’s expanding labelling regulations to smaller and smaller packaging, including breath mints, really took the cake.

“The Food and Drug Administration is amending its labelling regulations for conventional foods and dietary supplements to provide updated nutrition information on the label to assist consumers in maintaining healthy dietary practices,” the report said. “This rule places regulations on the serving size of breath mints.”

The report notes that these regulations cost between $200,000 and $800,000 a year.

Sonic boom

It’s been a long time since many Americans actually heard a sonic boom – the sound created when a plane hits Mach 1, or 761 miles per hour. That’s because the Federal Aviation Administration has banned supersonic flights over U.S. territory.

Some say that the fuel consumed in supersonic flight makes it not worth lifting the ban, but the Freedom Caucus does not agree.

In its recommendations, the caucus gave one, simple recommendation: “Make sonic boom again.”


What’s do the members of the Freedom Caucus and hipsters in Brooklyn have in common?

Apparently, it’s a love for kombucha, the fermented tea drink much in vogue on both coasts of the U.S.

The caucus wants the federal government’s rules for shipping alcoholic beverages revised.

“The threshold to be able to ship products containing alcohol should be elevated in order to support the growing kombucha industry,” the report noted.