Republicans in Congress are moving quickly to thwart Barack Obama’s last-minute push to get $44 billion in regulations on the books before his term ends in just 15 days.
Republican Rep. Darrell Issa (Calif) has re-introduced legislation that would allow them to overturn executive branch regulations completed in the last 60 legislative days of an outgoing presidential administration.
It’s called the Congressional Review Act and if the stars are right, it allows Congress to literally wipe out the executive mark left by an outgoing president. It was one of Newt Gingrich’s signature achievements and only works under certain circumstances – like right now.
The bill is designed to “to stem a growing trend by Presidents, of both parties, to use their last few months in office to rush in costly, expensive or controversial new regulations,” Issa said.
The House is expected to approve the act on Wednesday, as it was already introduced by Republican Reps. Bob Goodlatte and Tom Marino.
“Regulations impacting the economy, the environment, families, and our community should be done with great caution and transparency, not get rushed in last-minute on a President’s way out of office. This is a good piece of legislation that will help keep this and future Presidents in check. The Midnight Rules Relief Act is a reasonable plan to strengthen executive branch oversight, giving Congress a better tool to ensure regulations are limited and, when necessary, approved in an open and transparent manner,” Issa said in a statement.
He added, “We have a responsibility to ensure that unaccountable, last-minute regulations don’t continue crippling our economy, crushing small business and raising costs on middle-class families.”
The Congressional Review Act provides a fast-track process for Congress to overturn unwanted agency rules imposed by an outgoing president. Under the act, all each chamber has to do is pass a “resolution of disapproval” and the regulation is no more.
Under the terms of the act, Congress only has a few short months to get this all done. “It requires a perfect storm,” said Lisa Gilbert, director of the progressive group Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division. Among those circumstances, she said, is the party in power should “be one that believes in deregulation.”
Under the act, Democrats can’t fall back on their standard blocking tactic, the filibuster. It only takes a simple majority to pass a “resolution of disapproval.”
The American Action Forum has put together a list of 40 regulations that Obama has signed that total $44.1 billion in costs.