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 GoodlatteBob GoodlatteWeek ahead: Senate takes aim at Obama-era 'blacklisting' rule House panel blocks Dem effort on Trump's potential business conflicts House panel to hold hearing on foreign surveillance law 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 WoodallRob WoodallThe Hill's Whip List: 36 GOP no votes on ObamaCare repeal plan A guide to the committees: House Bill to overturn last Obama regulations heads to House floor 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.