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Leviathan and the "Whole of Government" Approach to Regulation

This week, the Center for Regulatory Freedom filed comments with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in the rulemaking regarding the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act that we have blogged about previously. In a statement to the Washington Examiner regarding that filing, I said the following:

As this Administration has has moved with unprecedented speed to massively expand the power of the federal government through regulations, it has engaged in a "whole of government" approach to implement an extremist progressive agenda. It's not just the pushing of the abortion issue in a rulemaking which is supposed to be about protecting pregnant women, but it is also using the EEOC as an instrument in getting rid of the protections of religious freedom that Americans have enjoyed for centuries, just as this Administration has done in rulemakings at HHS and the Department of Education. This is why we felt it was essential for the CPAC Foundation and our Center for Regulatory Freedom to get involved.

What is this "whole of government" approach we referenced, both in this statement in CRF's comments? It refers to the integrated and coordinated use of resources across different departments and agencies to address challenges or implement policy objectives. It contrasts with siloed or isolated actions that each agency might pursue on its own. The idea is to foster synergy and alignment across agencies, amplifying the impact of individual regulations.

One recent example of this integrated approach can be seen in rulemakings at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The agency has been at the forefront of controversial decisions to narrow exemptions to federal requirements for medical practitioners regarding the provision or assistance with abortions. Specifically, the debate has focused on exemptions based on religious or conscience objections.

In broadening the scope of who is required to provide or assist in abortions, HHS is signaling a shift in the way religious conscience objections are viewed within the realm of healthcare. Such a move can be seen as a deliberate act to prioritize access to abortion services over individual conscience protections, a topic that has long been a political hotbed.

Similarly, the Department of Education has introduced rulemakings that narrow the types of speech protected on college campuses under the First Amendment’s protections of freedom of religion. By redefining what constitutes protected speech, especially in the context of religious expression, the Department is wading into deep waters of free speech and religious rights.

This ongoing rulemaking by EEOC is yet another example - combining both the abortion issue and the religious freedom issue yet again.

While on the surface, these rulemakings by HHS and the Department of Education may seem isolated, when viewed through the lens of a “whole of government” approach, they can be seen as part of a coordinated strategy to redefine the balance between individual rights (like freedom of religion and conscience) and broader societal goals (like access to abortion services or ensuring a certain campus environment).

Expect that in the coming weeks and months, The CPAC Foundation's Center for Regulatory Freedom will be doing more on pushing back on this "whole of government" approach the Biden Administration is using to implement its extremist agenda.


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