Congressman Vern Buchanan

Representing the 16th District of Florida

Buchanan Votes to Overturn Obama’s ‘Midnight Rules’

Jan 5, 2017
Press Release
U.S. House Approves Bill to Roll Back Costly Regulations

Avalanche of Red Tape is “Hurting Job Growth”

WASHINGTON — Congressman Vern Buchanan said today House passage of legislation aimed at reversing President Obama’s frenzy of last-minute regulations could save taxpayers more than $20 billion.

The Obama administration has enacted more than 99 regulations in the past month as he rushes to cement his legacy before he leaves office in two weeks. The rules touch nearly every aspect of American life – including immigration, trade and even the use of cell phones on airplanes.

According to the American Action Forum, 31 of the 145 new rules proposed since the election are considered to be economically significant, imposing a cost exceeding $20 billion.

“The avalanche of federal regulations coming out of the White House is suffocating businesses and hurting job growth,” Buchanan said. “A lame duck administration should not be able to jam through 11th-hour rules that have a serious impact on the American economy without congressional oversight. I urge the Senate to take up this legislation as soon as the new President is sworn in, so that it can be signed into law immediately.”

Small business owners consistently cite “government regulations and red tape” as one of the biggest challenges facing their companies, according to the National Federation of Independent Business, the nation’s leading voice for small businesses.

The Midnight Rules Relief Act, H.R. 21, was approved by the U.S. House yesterday by a vote of 238-184 and now goes to the Senate for consideration. Specifically, the legislation would amend the Congressional Review Act to allow Congress to repeal any and all regulations finalized in the last 60 legislative days of an outgoing presidential administration under a single disapproval resolution.

A previous version of the Midnight Rules Relief Act passed the House with Buchanan’s strong support in late 2016, but the Senate never acted on the bill.

The federal government has issued 600 major regulations totaling $743 billion since President Obama assumed office, according to the American Action Forum. Furthermore, the Federal Register, the repository all of rules and regulations, stood at more than 81,600 pages by the end of 2016 – an all-time record.

Buchanan also called on Congress to take the next step and curtail executive overreach by approving the Regulations from the Executive In Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act, H.R. 26. The House is expected to vote on the legislation Thursday.

Specifically, this bill requires executive agencies to submit rules with an annual economic impact of $100 million or more to Congress for review. Under the legislation, Congress has 70 legislative days to approve the major rule and send it to the president’s desk otherwise the rule would not take effect. Currently, executive agencies can unilaterally enact rules.

“Unelected bureaucrats working behind closed doors are drowning small businesses in red tape with these rules,” Buchanan said. “The House must reverse this dangerous trend of government overreach and send a strong signal that the White House cannot circumvent Congress.”

President-elect Donald Trump has said he would sign the REINS Act should it reach his desk, and called it one “major step toward getting our government under control.” The House passed a previous version of the bill in July 2016 with Buchanan’s support, but also stalled in the Senate.