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Unnecessary Renaming of Bills Flagged by White House Watcher

The executive office of the president, consisting of President Obama’s chief advisers and overseen by the White House chief of staff, informed reporters recently about a “Statement of Administration Policy on H.R. 3438 — Unnecessary Delay of Rules Act.”

The bill could prevent the Federal Communications Commission from passing any “major-impact” rules — like some future Open Internet Order — until all legal appeals had been exhausted.

The EOP releases similar policy statements to reporters and others providing the White House’s take on legislation, statements easily findable in Outlook in these contentious days by using the search term “veto.”

This one was unusual, though. Although the bill number was correct, the EOP had made up its own headline as a snarky editorial comment, a troubling precedent for harried journalists who now have to double-check official White House statements for snark.

The statement attributes the bill to sponsor Tom Marino (R-Pa.) as though he had put his name to that rather than the actual title, the Require EValuation before Implementing Executive Wishlists [or “REVIEW”] Act of 2016. A Marino staffer was not amused by the EOP’s retitling.

The Wire likes a good joke as well as the next page of editorial. Had the EOP slipped it in as an aside with a little smiley face — like, say, “What is the sound an elephant makes when it’s running roughshod over rights and freedoms? Trump! Trump! Trump!” — we would, like, totally get that. But there is a time and place, and planting facetious asides in official documents without warning is not one of them.

The EOP doesn’t like the bill and said the president would likely veto it. Fair enough. But to rechristen the bill with a snarky name smacks more of an April Fool’s joke than what should be acceptable policy.