Just because President Obama’s legacy was defeated at the ballot box doesn’t mean that the regulator-in-chief is going to change. In the final weeks of his lame duck presidency, the Obama administration is hustling to complete as many new regulations as possible. This adds on to what is already the all-time record year for regulation based on page count. This continued regulatory aggression against the American people underlines why under this president the regulatory state has grown by an unprecedented amount.
The Obama administration is currently reviewing 98 regulations which could be completed by the end of his term, seventeen of those with an economic impact of more than $100 million! A study by the American Action Forum estimates that Obama’s last-minute, “midnight” regulations could cost the American people $44.1 billion.
With these last-minute regulations, the Obama administration is taking a calculated gamble. Once President Trump takes office, Republicans in Congress will have an opportunity to use the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to overrule any regulations passed during the last 60 legislative days of the current Congress. However, each CRA resolution to repeal a regulation has to be passed individually. This consumes precious legislative time in Congress.
As reported by the Washington Post, the administration’s strategy is to get as many regulations through as possible, leaving Congress with no choice but to pick and choose what it can get to, with the rest left in place. Anything not addressed by a CRA resolution must go through a much longer and more complicated regulatory process to be withdrawn or modified.
This transparent attempt to entrench regulatory overreach should come as no surprise from this administration, which has expanded the regulatory state at every opportunity. Add these last minute rules to an already-long list of regulatory adventurism that the next president will have to clean-up.
What are some of the regulations that have come out or could come out in the lame duck period of the Obama administration? Here’s are just a few:
- Renewable Fuel Standard ethanol mandate
- Department of Education Every Student Succeeds implementation regulations
- Car and light truck fuel economy mandates
- Department of Interior anti-coal stream buffer protection rule
- Department of Interior methane regulations
- Health and Human Services rules on human subjects involved in testing
- Energy conservation standards for manufactured housing
- Energy conservation standards for ceiling fans
- Energy conservation standards for air conditioners and heat pumps
- Energy efficiency standards for uninterruptible battery chargers
- Energy efficiency standards for commercial heating equipment
- Energy conservation standards for conventional ovens
We will need to encourage Congress to undo as many Obama regulations as possible using the CRA process, but otherwise we at least can look forward to January 20, 2017 – the end of an error (era)…