Republicans take aim at 'midnight regulations'

Republicans take aim at 'midnight regulations'
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Republican lawmakers took a preemptive strike Wednesday against the burst of last-minute rulemakings known as “midnight regulations” that they expect the administration to issue before President Obama leaves office.

During a House Science, Space and Technology Committee hearing, Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) said the president has rushed through a number of costly and burdensome rules over the last seven years, including the Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards, the Waters of the U.S. rule and the Clean Power Plan, which the Supreme Court blocked on Tuesday.

“The speed at which these regulations are being finalized provide little certainty that these rules are based on a sound and transparent review of the underlying scientific data and analysis,” Smith said.

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“The president’s regulatory overreach will cost billions of dollars, cause financial hardships for American families and diminish the competitiveness of American employers, all with no significant benefit to climate change, public health or the economy.”

Smith cited an American Action Forum report that found regulations cost $197 billion in 2015, a $600 cost for every American citizen. More rules, he said, are planned for 2016.

But the committee’s ranking member, Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas), reprimanded the committee as wasting its time in an area where it has no jurisdiction.

“The hearing is, unfortunately, not a surprise,” she said. “It fits a clear and consistent pattern on this committee — one that ignores the important work that actually falls under the committee’s jurisdiction and instead attacks the federal government’s legitimate and necessary role in helping to ensure that all citizens of this nations are protected from public health and environmental dangers.”