Bill to overturn last Obama regulations heads to House floor

A Republican backed bill that would allow Congress to overturn a slew of regulations in a single vote is on its way to the House floor for a vote.

The House Rules Committee passed the Midnight Rules Relief Act of 2016 Monday night along party lines by a 7-2 vote. The legislation amends the Congressional Review Act to allow a single disapproval resolution to overturn en bloc any rules that were submitted in the last 60 legislative days of an administration.

The rarely used CRA is a tool Republicans have to fight back against red tape, but it requires the president’s signature to do so.


Rep. Bob GoodlatteRobert (Bob) William GoodlatteThe job of shielding journalists is not finished Bottom line No documents? Hoping for legalization? Be wary of Joe Biden MORE (R-Va.) said the legislation is needed to protect Americans' freedom and prosperity from what he said are “deeply troubling” last minute rulemakings known as “midnight regulations.”

“Because outgoing administrations are no longer accountable to the voters, they are much more prone to issue midnight regulations that fly in the face of the electoral mandate the voters just gave the new incoming administration,” he said.

“Second, waves of midnight rules can be hard for Congress or an new administration to check.”

Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) urged his colleagues to reject the bill, calling it an “unfounded and reckless attempt to prohibit the implementation of critical laws by federal agencies.”

“Notwithstanding the bills colorful title, H.R. 5982 does not simply apply to the rules submitted in a lame duck period following an election,” he said.

“To set the record straight, this will apply to every rule submitted to Congress within the final 60 legislative days of the session and, as the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service has clarified, this would include rules submitted as early as May 2016."


Rep. Rob WoodallWilliam (Rob) Robert WoodallThe tale of the last bipartisan unicorns McCarthy guarantees GOP will take back House in 2022 Rundown of the House seats Democrats, GOP flipped on Election Day MORE (R-Ga.) told Johnson he made a persuasive case, but asked how the American people would benefit from the implementation of a rule in December that a new Congress would repeal or roll back in February. 

“It would take the same number of voices to repeal it outright as it would to pass the HR [resolution] to repeal it,” he noted.

“How are we are we as a nation advantaged by yanking the pendulum back and forth instead of preventing the rule from going into effect to begin with?”

Johnson noted that the people elect a president for four years.

“They don’t expect the president to lay down after three years and six months and shut the lights off and do nothing,” he said. 

The administration has already threatened to veto the bill if it makes it to President Obama's desk.