Employment Law Daily House bill would permit Congressional Review Act resolutions targeted to multiple regs
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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

House bill would permit Congressional Review Act resolutions targeted to multiple regs

Republican lawmakers on September 9 introduced legislation that they said would stop the implementation of what they called "high-cost or politically-driven regulations during the last days and months of the Obama Administration." The Midnight Rules Relief Act (H.R. 5982) would create what sponsors called "a rapid-response method" for Congress to use when an outgoing presidential administration attempts to impose major regulations without the transparency and scrutiny expected in normal regulatory implementation. The bill would accomplish its goal by specifically amending the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to allow CRA resolutions to disapprove multiple midnight rules to be passed by the incoming Congress, according to the House Judiciary Committee’s press release. This would purportedly permit Congress to better scrutinize and stop midnight rules that are truly problematic, particularly those that lawmakers believe would "defy the message sent by the voters" or consider poorly designed in the haste of the midnight rule period. The measure was introduced by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet Subcommittee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), and House Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (R-Texas). "The regulatory agendas of presidential administrations are often fiercest in the last months and days of that administration," explained Goodlatte. "These midnight rules are passed before time runs out on a presidency, and can too easily go unchecked by Congress. What the American people are left with are regulations issued by presidential administrations that often have a far more lasting impact than the administration itself." Issa said, "Presidents from both parties have made habit of using midnight regulations to sneak in the few remaining parts of their agenda just before the clock runs out. Our bill will keep outgoing Administrations in check by ensuring new regulations attain the proper level of scrutiny by Congress and the American people. Many of these new rules and regulations come at a tremendous cost to small business and our job creators. We need to ensure these rules aren’t rushed in to fulfill some partisan agenda and that the people’s elected representatives have the opportunity carefully review them." Significantly, although not noted in the press release, the proposed "midnight rules" legislation itself would apply to any rule submitted "during the final year of a President’s term" (emphasis added).

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