House Approves a Bill Designed to Stop Obama's "Last Minute" Regulations

President Barack Obama speaks about the Baton Rouge, La., shooting of police officers, Sunday, July 17, 2016, from the briefing room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

And there will be no last-minute shenanigans from the outgoing administration.

President Obama will not have any “Be sure to do this last thing before you turn out the lights” moments.


At least, not if the House has their say.

The House on Thursday passed legislation letting Congress overturn by a single vote any regulations finalized in the final days of the Obama administration.

Despite Democratic opposition, the Midnight Rule Relief Act passed largely along party lines by a 240-179 vote. The bill amends the Congressional Review Act to allow Congress to overturn rules en bloc by way of a resolution.

Representative Bob Goodlatte, of Virginia, made the case to his colleagues that this was the will of the American people, that President Obama not be allowed to put a final, parting dagger into the back of the nation.

“This bill guarantees that Congress can prevent any and all last-minute defiance of the people’s will by midnight regulations that stubbornly seem to entrench the last pieces of the administrations bipartisan agenda.”

And earlier in the week, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy warned the federal agencies in a letter not to finalize any pending rules or regulations from now to the inauguration. Those that are, he assured, will be scrutinized and — if appropriate — overturned.

This will come as a comfort to many who have been sounding the alarms about what President Obama might do in the last hours of his presidency, as one, final overreach of power.


Of course, the usual Democrat whiners have appropriately knotted up their panties and are venting their frustrations.

While the bill targets rules finalized in the lame-duck period between Election Day and Trump’s Jan. 20 inauguration, Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) argues its reach is much further.

Despite the bill’s colorful title, he said the legislation allows Congress to overturn rules finalized as far back as May.

Oh, good!

Johnson went on to characterize it as a “non-existent problem,” saying that most last minute regulations normally take 3.6 years to complete.

He doesn’t quite grasp the concept of not wanting anything of Obama’s disastrous legacy to linger and reappear 3 or 4 years down the road, either.

Then there is the Texas state representative so dense, she makes me squint.

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) accused House Republicans of trying once again to undermine President Obama.

“This is en bloc destruction of regulations that may save lives,” she said. “This is to say, ‘In your eye, Mr. President.’”

The bill’s author, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), rebutted that claim.

“The Congress lady would have you believe it’s an attack on our president. It’s not,” he said. “It’s a law that would allow Congress to reassert the authority that’s constitutionally and inherently always ours.”


Of course, the president has vowed to veto the bill, should it make it to his desk. This should come as no surprise to anyone. His office has deemed the bill “unnecessary,” pointing out that the Congressional Review Act allows for Congress to address bills on a case-by-case basis, either approving or disapproving.

“In addition, the bill would expand the scope of rules subject to the CRA such that by the time a vote on a resolution occurs, some of the rules may have been in effect for over a year,” the executive office said.

“By doing so, H.R. 5982 would create tremendous regulatory uncertainty, potentially impose additional costs on businesses, and represent a step backwards for applying sound regulatory principles to protect public health, safety, the environment, and other critical aspects of society.”

Had Congress been given any assurances throughout Obama’s tenure that he really cared about working in unison towards those goals through the past eight years, this may not have taken on such an air of importance, now.



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