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House passes Midnight Rules Relief Act

White House

Photo: jkinsey3291/iStockphoto

Washington – The House of Representatives on Jan. 4 passed the Midnight Rules Relief Act of 2017 in an effort to stop President Barack Obama and his administration from pushing new regulations at the end of their term.

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) sponsored the bill. On Jan. 5, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) introduced a companion bill in the Senate, where it remained at press time.

House Republicans say the bill would prevent President Obama – as well as future presidents – from issuing a slew of rules during their final days in office. Critics of so-called “midnight rules” claim such regulations may not receive proper review and analysis because of a rushed time frame. The bill would allow Congress to disapprove multiple regulations issued in the last 60 legislative days of a president’s final term, instead of the existing procedure of examining one regulation at a time.

“Costly regulations are a burden on the American economy, and should not be used as a political tool by presidential administrations during their last months in office to push regulations that are often broad, costly and partisan,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) said in a press release. “This additional tool to combat abusive midnight rules will help end the practice of bureaucrats ramming through hastily-considered new regulations after the American people have chosen a new direction for America.”

In a statement issued on the House floor, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), senior member of the Judiciary Committee, opposed the bill. “While I am sympathetic to the need for an incoming administration to review regulations issued in the closing days of an outgoing administration, this bill goes much further and allows for a rushed and partisan process that could undermine critical health and safety regulations,” Nadler said.

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