GOP bill to block 'midnight regulations' advances in House

GOP bill to block 'midnight regulations' advances in House

A Republican-backed bill to block a burst of last-minute "midnight regulations" from the Obama administration advanced in the House on Tuesday.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee passed the Midnight Rule Relief Act that Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Mich.) introduced last week with Sens. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonMystery surrounds elusive sanctions on Russia Trump may intervene in Pentagon cloud-computing contract: report Hillicon Valley: Lawmakers struggle to understand Facebook's Libra project | EU hits Amazon with antitrust probe | New cybersecurity concerns over census | Robocall, election security bills head to House floor | Privacy questions over FaceApp MORE (R-Wis.).

The bill establishes a post-election moratorium on new regulations that cost the economy $100 million or more annually. Any rules necessary for imminent health or safety threats would be exempt.

“Cutting corners and rushing through regulations leads to carelessly crafted rules that harm small businesses and their ability to thrive and create good-paying jobs,” Walberg said in a statement.

“The Midnight Rule Relief Act will hold outgoing administrations accountable and ensure President Obama, and any future president, cannot slip through more costly red tape during his final days in office.”

Lawmakers say there has been an uptick in regulations during the transition time between new administrations, regardless of which party controls the White House.

In January, the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), which is in charge of reviewing all regulations, warned the federal agencies not to wait until the last minute to issue rules.

OIRA said it understands that agencies will need to issue regulations through 2016, since they are part of the government's normal operations, but said big regulatory initiatives should be finished well before the end of Obama's term.