As the Midnight Rule Relief Act passed on Thursday, Barack Obama has been stripped of the power to pass new laws and impose new policies. The bill passed by 240-179 and amends the Congressional Review Act to overturn in a single vote any regulations the President in leaving attempts to put in his last days of office.
As TheHill.com reports, republican Bob Goodlatte urged his colleagues to pass the legislation and tell American people that the lawmakers heard their voice. “The American people have said no to the continuance of the Obama administration’s policies. This bill guarantees that Congress can prevent any and all last-minute defiance of the people’s will by midnight regulations that stubbornly seem to entrench the last pieces of the administration’s bipartisan agenda,” Goodlatte said.
House republicans are trying everything to prevent Obama from passing any new laws in his final days. Earlier this week, Kevin McCarthy warned federal agencies with a letter not to finalize any pending rules from now on until Trump’s inauguration on the 20th of January. He assured that these rules would be penalized and overturned, as the legislation allows the Congress to overturn finalized rules as far back as May. While the bill targets any rules finalized in the period between Election Day and Trump’s inauguration, he said that they reach much further. Johnson cited pro-regulatory groups such as Public Citizen in dispute to the Republican claims that the rules are rushed through the end of an administration. He recently said that these rules take 3.6 years on average to pass. “This is a solution to non-existent and undocumented problem,” he said. He also added that once a rule is invalidated, the agency can’t adopt a similar rule without the Congress. Republican Sheila Jackson Lee immediately accused the Republican party of trying to undermine current president Mr. Barack Obama. “This is en bloc destruction of regulations that may save lives,” she said. “This is to say, ‘In your eye, Mr. President.’”
The bill’s author rebutted the claims. “The Congress lady would have you believe it’s an attack on our president, but it’s not,” Darrell Issa said. “It’s a law that would allow Congress to reassert the authority that’s constitutionally and inherently always ours.”
And, while the Democrats offered several amendments that were later rejected, the administration threatened a veto if the bill was passed. The executive office of the President stated that the bill is unnecessary as the Congressional Review Act already allows the Congress to disapprove rules. “In addition, the bill would expand the scope of rules subject to the CRA such that by the time a vote on a resolution occurs, some of the rules may have been in effect for over a year,” it was said in the statement. “By doing so, H.R. 5982 would create tremendous regulatory uncertainty, potentially impose additional costs on businesses, and represent a step backwards for applying sound regulatory principles to protect public health, safety, the environment, and other critical aspects of society.”