February 15, 2017

Sean Spicer had to cut yesterday's presser short to attend a bill signing. This is that bill signing.

And it's remarkable, because here is Congress actually passing legislation and a so-called President signing it. The Republican Congress hardly ever did that with President Obama.

This one is special. Donald Trump says we're bringing back jobs! In the plant! And in the factory! We're bringing back energy jobs, yay!

And it would be great if the bill he signed did that, but it doesn't.

This bill, House Joint Resolution 17, erases a rule that was supposed to go into effect in 2018. This bill benefits oil companies and Vladimir Putin.

That rule said that oil and natural gas and other energy companies have to disclose when they make a payment to a foreign government. Taxes, fees, whatever, if an American company pays a foreign government money, they have to report that.

Not anymore they don't.

Trump's remarks indicate he had no idea what this bill was. From the White House transcript:

“This is a big signing, a very important signing. And this is H.J. Resolution 41, disapproving the Securities and Exchange Commission’s rule on disclosure of payments by resource extraction issuers. It’s a big deal. And I want to thank Speaker Paul Ryan for being here. He’s been tremendous. Jeb Hensarling very, very important and really worked hard. Representative Bill Huizenga and all of the friends – Peter – all of my friends are up here. And we really appreciate it.

“This is one of many that we’ve signed, and we have many more left. And we’re bringing back jobs big league, we’re bringing them back at the plant level; we’ve bringing them back at the mine level. The energy jobs are coming back.”

Steve Benen:

Show of hands: who believes Trump knows what this bill is and what the legislation does? Based on his comments, the president seems convinced the legislation has something to do with energy-sector jobs, but that’s really not the case.

What’s more, this keeps happening. Trump was reportedly annoyed with his aides recently when he wasn’t fully briefed on an executive order – after he’d already put his signature on it. Soon after, the president signed an order allowing financial advisors to rip off investors, and by all appearances, he had no idea what his directive was all about.

Guess who lobbied against this regulation when it was passed in 2010? Rex Tillerson.

Just a few hours before the vote, ... Tillerson personally... lobbied Congress during the Wall Street reform effort, urging lawmakers to reject a provision that “required drilling and mining companies to disclose any payments they make to foreign governments.”

Tillerson reportedly argued at the time that forcing oil companies to disclose such payments “would put them at a competitive disadvantage. He also explained that the provision would make it especially difficult for Exxon to do business in Russia, where, as he did not need to explain, the government takes a rather active interest in the oil industry.”

Way to drain the swamp Donald!

PS. The exchange at the end of this video would be hilarious if it weren't terrifying. Trump turns to Paul Ryan:

TRUMP: He's working on Obamacare -- it's going to be very soon. Right?

SPEAKER RYAN: (looking surprised) Yes.

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