GOP bill seeks to block 'midnight regulations'

GOP bill seeks to block 'midnight regulations'
© The Hill

Republican lawmakers on Thursday unveiled legislation intended to block a burst of last-minute "midnight regulations" from the Obama administration. 

The Midnight Rule Relief Act, introduced by Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Mich.) and Sens. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonGOP acknowledges struggle to bring down Biden Pelosi: Dropping 9/11-style Jan. 6 commission an 'option' amid opposition Wisconsin state Treasurer Sarah Godlewski launches Senate bid MORE (R-Wis.), would establish a post-election moratorium on new regulations that cost the economy $100 million or more annually.


The bill includes exceptions for rules that are necessary for imminent health or safety threats, along with enforcement of criminal laws and national security. Rules that would repeal existing regulations would also be exempt.

“Given the Obama administration’s tendency to over-regulate and overreach, the American people can expect to see a surge of last minute regulations in the President’s waning days in office,” Walberg said in a statement.

“This bill will hold outgoing administrations in check and ensure small businesses in Michigan and across the country aren’t faced with a new onslaught of excessive regulations that stifle wages, job creation, and economic growth.”

The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), which backs the legislation, said rules passed at the end of an administration typically lack in-depth study or sufficient time for public comment.

“Small business owners struggle to keep up with the constant creation of new regulations,”  said Amanda Austin, NFIB's vice president of public policy.

“Rushed regulations are even worse for them as agencies often overlook the effect of the new rules on small employers. Agencies shouldn’t be able to cut corners as the clock winds down on the Obama administration.”



The White House office in charge of reviewing federal regulations has warned agencies against an “end-of-year scramble.”