House Republicans are moving to disregard any last-second regulations issued by President Barack Obama during his lame duck session, passing legislation that would give Congress the ability to overturn any regulations finalized since May 2016.
On Nov. 17, The House passed a bill dubbed the Midnight Rule Relief Act by a vote of 240-179. The bill’s passage fell largely along party lines, with GOP lawmakers intent on preventing President Obama from installing any further rules before he leaves office, The Hill reports.
Authored by Republican Rep. Darrell Issa of California, the legislation would amend the Congressional Review Act (CRA). Instead of overturning regulations piece-by-piece, the bill would allow for Congress to overturn rules in bulk.
“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 administration’s bipartisan agenda,” said Republican Bob Goodlatte of Virginia.
Jackson Lee of Texas blasted Issa’s legislation, accusing her Republican colleagues of attempting to undermine President Obama.
“This is en bloc destruction of regulations that may save lives,” Lee said. “This is to say, ‘In your eye, Mr. President.’”
Issa countered that his bill would “allow Congress to reassert the authority that’s constitutionally and inherently always ours.”
The Executive Office of the President announced that Obama would veto the bill if it also clears the Senate, explaining that Issa’s legislation would “create tremendous regulatory uncertainty, potentially impose additional costs on businesses, and represent a step backwards for… public health, safety, the environment, and other critical aspects of society.”
President-elect Donald Trump is expected to roll back massive portions of the regulations issued by Obama over the past eight years.
“This is going to be a president who will be the biggest regulatory reformer since Ronald Reagan,” Trump economic adviser Stephen Moore told The New York Times. “There are just so many regulations that could be eased.”
Give the president-elect’s rhetoric on the campaign trail, regulations that are expected to be rolled back include massive portions of the Dodd Frank Act, the Wall Street regulations imposed following the economic crash of 2008. President Obama’s regulations on coal and oil and a raising of the threshold on low-income workers overtime pay are also expected to be cut.
On Nov. 14, President Obama expressed skepticism that the Trump administration would be able to undo the bulk of his regulations, Fox News reports.
During a conference call with Democrats, Obama said that GOP lawmakers who expect to erase his regulatory and healthcare achievements would discover that this task would be “not as easy” as they had promised.
The outgoing president added that while the Trump administration was likely to roll back as much as 20 percent of his policies, 80 percent would still remain in place.
Sources: Fox News, The Hill, The New York Times / Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr