Friday, January 6, 2017

Western lawmakers take aim at midnight regulations

From the north state's Rep. Doug LaMalfa:
Congressman Doug LaMalfa (R-Richvale) issued the following statement after voting in support of H.R. 21, the Midnight Rules Relief Act and H.R. 26, the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act. Combined, the two bills give Congress the authority to limit future major regulations and disapprove of last-minute “midnight rules” issued by the President before he leaves office.

LaMalfa said: “Over the last eight years, we’ve witnessed a dramatic increase in burdensome regulations coming from the Administration that have negatively impacted the American people. The REINS Act will help curtail new major regulations by giving Congress the authority to vote on anything that costs American families and businesses more than $100 million, while the Midnight Rules Relief Act enables us to eliminate many existing harmful regulations that the President has tried to implement at the eleventh hour. Now, Congress and President-elect Trump will be able to work together to create jobs and get California’s economy going again.”

“Midnight Rules” are regulations that are rushed into place in the last days and months of a presidential administration. Since Election Day on November 8, 2016, the Obama Administration has introduced 145 new regulations that classify as midnight rules totaling $21.7 billion. Currently, under the Congressional Review Act, Congress is only able to disapprove these regulations one at a time, hindering the ability to target problematic last-minute rules issued by outgoing presidential administrations. H.R. 21, the Midnight Rules Relief Act, amends the Congressional Review Act to allow Congress the ability to disapprove multiple midnight rules at once when the regulations have been submitted by federal agencies within the last 60 days of a Congressional session during the last year of a presidential administration.

H.R. 26, the REINS Act, gives Congress the authority to vote on any new administration regulation that will destroy American jobs by costing families and businesses $100 million or more, will increase costs for consumers, or will have a significant adverse impact on the economy and U.S. competitiveness. The REINS act mandates that Congress has a 70-day period to vote on any major decisions on economic regulations, ensuring that Congress has the final say.
Oregon's Rep. Greg Walden, whose district includes the Klamath Basin, also weighs in on the two bills. From his office:
Committed to growing the economy and protecting small businesses in Oregon, U.S. Rep. Greg Walden (R-Hood River) supported bills passed by the House this week to rein in costly, burdensome, and overreaching federal regulations. Below is a transcript from Walden’s video release applauding the legislation:

“Regulations imposed about $15,000 per household from the federal government just in 2015. When you think about how some of them have come out of agencies like the EPA, and their unilateral expansions of Waters of the U.S., and what that means for family farmers and ranchers.”

“We took action in the House -- in the first week -- to pass the REINS Act, that says unelected bureaucrats have to follow the law. And Congress has the opportunity to make sure they do, by making sure no major regulations takes effect unless it complies with the law and Congress has the chance to approve it. This is part of reining in out of control regulators.”

“We are also working on other things that are really important. Like making sure that when presidents of either party leave office, they can’t jam the process with midnight rules that no one sees coming -- and do it on their way out the door. The House has spoken, we hope the Senate will, and I know incoming President Trump will sign both into law if they get to his desk.”

Just one week into the new session of Congress, the House passed two pieces of legislation that would require Congressional approval for major regulations, and prohibit presidents from implementing so-called “midnight rules” during their final days in office. The Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act requires government agencies to submit all major regulations to Congress for approval. Under this law, a major regulation would not become effective until Congress approves it, which must happen through a vote within 70 legislative days. President-elect Donald Trump has signaled he supports the REINS Act, and intends to sign it into law should it reach his desk as President.

The Midnight Rules Relief Act (H.R. 21), another bill passed in the House this week, would prohibit presidents from implementing regulations during their final months in office -- referred to as the “midnight period” -- without proper vetting by Congress first. Currently, the Congressional Review Act (CRA) authorizes Congress to disapprove only one rule at a time, while numerous rules can be handed down at once by the President. The Midnight Rules Relief Act amends the CRA to allow Congress to disapprove multiple rules at once -- including midnight rules -- to prevent a flood of regulations from overwhelming the review process.

This critical legislative work comes after federal regulations imposed an estimated $1.885 trillion burden on America’s economy in 2015 alone, equaling roughly $15,000 per household. The Regulatory Studies Center at George Washington University also found that there is a significant increase in regulations implemented during the final months of presidential administrations, often reducing the review time necessary to justify new rules.

Walden’s support for these plans continues his efforts to push back against onerous federal regulations that burden economies in rural Oregon. Walden has repeatedly spoken out against the EPA’s Waters of the U.S. rule, which greatly expanded the agency’s regulatory authority without approval from Congress.

Both the REINS Act and Midnight Rules Relief Act now await consideration in the Senate.

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