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Obama Admin Rushes To Pass At Least 98 New Regulations

Obama Admin Rushes To Pass At Least 98 New Regulations

. . . ignoring Congress’ warning against a flurry of “midnight” regulations

The Obama administration’s agencies are in a frenzy of activity as they push new regulations before Obama leaves office in January. Republicans, however, are warning against such activity, saying that they will overturn them via the Congressional Review Act (CRA).

Politico reports:

Federal agencies are rushing out a final volley of executive actions in the last two months of Barack Obama’s presidency, despite warnings from Republicans in Congress and the reality that Donald Trump will have the power to erase much of their handiwork after Jan. 20.

Regulations on commodities speculation, air pollution from the oil industry, doctors’ Medicare drug payments and high-skilled immigrant workers are among the rules moving through the pipeline as Obama’s administration grasps at one last chance to cement his legacy. So are regulations tightening states’ oversight of online colleges and protecting funding for Planned Parenthood.

Also moving ahead are negotiations on an investment treaty with China and decisions by the Education Department on whether to offer debt relief to students at defunct for-profit colleges. The Department of Transportation may also go ahead with a ban on cellphone calls on commercial flights and a rule requiring most freight trains have at least two crew members on duty.

. . . . As many as 98 final regulations under review at the White House as of Nov. 15 could be implemented before Trump takes office. Seventeen regulations awaiting final approval are considered “economically significant,” with an estimated economic impact of at least $100 million a year.

Regulation, unlike executive orders, cannot be undone with the stroke of a pen.  Instead, Congress must exercise its authority under the CRA as noted by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA)  in a letter to government agencies warning against these “midnight” actions.

The Hill reported at the time:

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) sent a letter to government agencies Tuesday warning them against finalizing any pending rules or regulations in the waning days of the Obama administration.

“Should you ignore this counsel, please be aware that we will work with our colleagues to ensure that Congress scrutinizes your actions – and, if appropriate, overturns them – pursuant to the Congressional Review Act,” McCarthy said in the letter, which was also signed by House Committee Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas).

. . . .  In his letter Tuesday, McCarthy urged the agencies to consider the consequences of last minute rulemaking.

“By refraining from acting with undue haste, you will ensure that agency staff may fully assess the costs and benefits of rules, making it less likely that unintended consequences will harm consumers and businesses,” his letter said.

“Moreover, such forbearance is necessary to afford the recently elected administration and Congress the opportunity to review and give direction concerning pending rulemakings.”

Watch:

This warning fell on deaf, defiant ears.

Politico reports:

. . . [A]gencies have signaled full steam ahead despite the threat of Republicans consigning their work to oblivion, in a dynamic that will be crucial to deciding how much of Obama’s legacy survives the ascendant Trump era.

“As I’ve mentioned to you before, we’re running — not walking — through the finish line of President Obama’s presidency,” Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy wrote agency employees the day after the Nov. 8 election. “Thank you for taking that run with me. I’m looking forward to all the progress that still lies ahead.”

The Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) provides an explanation of how the CRA combined with the passage of the Midnight Rules Relief Act (MRRA) can be leveraged to overturn these eleventh hour regulations.

FEE reports:

One of the next Congress’ top priorities should be to fight this regulatory deluge.

One way is to pass the Midnight Rules Relief Act. This would strengthen the Congressional Review Act (CRA). Originally passed in 1996, the CRA allows Congress to overturn executive branch regulations. Sadly, it has not been very effective to date. While it has been invoked roughly a hundred times, the CRA has successfully overturned precisely one regulation: a Clinton-era ergonomics rule, and even then only because Clinton left office by the time Congress acted on it.

It is time to use the CRA again, and the Midnight Rules Relief Act (MRRA) can help. As it is now, CRA actions can cover only one rule at a time. Given that more than 1,000 regulations will be CRA-eligible next Congress, this could mean a lot of votes. The MRRA would allow Congress to package its repeals together, meaning one vote could cover a whole swath of rules. It would make reform easier.

How do things currently work? Once a new regulation is finalized, Congress has 60 legislative days to invoke the CRA and attempt to repeal it. Depending on how this year’s legislative calendar shakes out, that means any regulation finalized since roughly late May is potential CRA fodder for the next Congress, and President Obama will not be in office to stop them.

Here is the text of the MRRA, sponsored by Darrell Issa (R-CA):

(Sec. 2) This bill amends the Congressional Review Act to allow Congress to consider a joint resolution to disapprove multiple regulations that federal agencies have submitted for congressional review within the last 60 legislative days of a session of Congress during the final year of a President’s term. Congress may disapprove a group of such regulations together (i.e., “en bloc”) instead of the current procedure of considering only one regulation at a time.

The bill has already passed the House (with three Democrats voting with the GOP) and will next need to pass the Senate before arriving on the president’s desk to be signed into law.  Obama, of course, promised to veto it should it reach his desk.  It won’t, however, be his desk after January 20th, 2017.

While President-elect Trump and the new Congress will have their hands full in the first months of the new administration, overturning as many harmful and crippling regulations as possible should be a top priority.

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Comments

I know, I know, al-Chicagi’s megalomania won’t let him stop his “Radical Transformation”. Given as a significant portion of his ‘Legacy’ comes from Executive Orders, it is too bad the American People can’t enter into a Class Action Law Suit against citizen al-Chicagi once he oozes out of office.

Add “…and you will be terminated immediately…” to the letter and see what reaction you get. Draining the swamp means every rotten molecule. It’s not just the abstract, big picture concept that needs to be dealt with, it’s down to the personal level–bureaucrats who need to be sent packing.

What’s the point?

The Red Herring Department at Politico strikes again.

MRRA has nothing to do with the current situation. MRRA is about how Congress can limit bureaucratic (i.e., Executive branch) overreach.

But we’re not counting on Congress to limit the damage of the Obama plague.

The bureaus are all part of the Executive. That’s right … shortly, they will all work for Trump.

Executive Orders are instructions from the boss—the President—to his employees throughout the Executive branch—all the bureaucrats who infest the EPA, the DOE, HUD, Justice, CIA, BATF, FAA, FTC, NTSB, blah blah.

So no problem there. Phone and pen … and no batteries required.

And any regulatory action can be undone by the same bureaus which promulgated the regulations in the first place. If they drag their feet, all it takes is a few job shuffles to put things right.

What the President cannot do is unilaterally abandon or modify actions which have been ratified by the Senate, such as treaties and some appointments. Jefferson couldn’t get rid of John Marshall (although Congress tried to get rid of a lesser mortal, Samuel Chase, via impeachment, and failed), and FDR couldn’t get rid of the Justices who persisted in blocking his New Deal power-grabs. However, there’s no danger of the Senate ratifying any of Obama’s midnight appointments. Just not gonna happen. Ditto for treaties; they’re just scraps of paper without Senate ratification.

And there seems to be no way for a President to undo pardons.

There are other things a President could undo … but probably wouldn’t. One good instance—the optics would be terrible if a President un-does his predecessor’s declaration of a National Park or National Monument. In one of his last Presidential acts of depredation, Bill Clinton paid off a generous donor by declaring a new National Monument in Utah. That action just happened to eliminate any realistic possibility of leases for mining rights … in particular for a local mineral which is supplied by only one other mine in the world … the one owned by the generous donor. While Bush probably could have un-done this bit of Clintonian knavery, one can imagine the hooting and hollering which would have greeted any attempt to “eliminate our National Parks! President Bush hates trees!” Etc.

In the bloodbath (in a good way, of course) we’re all anticipating after Jan 20, the star player will be Trump, not Congress.

Republicans, however, are warning against such activity, saying that they will overturn them via the Congressional Review Act (CRA)

I’ll believe that when I see it.

Oshitbag is desperately trying to finish the job of destroying America before he leaves office. No worries. This will all be undone and placed in the trash heap where it belongs.

With all their proposed regs, the alphabet soup agencies are basically throwing s*** against the wall in the (likely vain) hope some of it will stick.

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