The PJ Tatler

Boehner, McConnell to Obama: Rule Out Last-Minute Regs

The Republicans leaders of both chambers cautioned President Obama against putting new regulations into place in the final months of his first term.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) sent the president the letter today, warning that jobs could be killed by any “midnight regulations” he decides to enact.

“Midnight regulations” refers to the practice of finalizing rules, guidance, findings or other directives that influence the rulemaking process during the final months of a presidency.

“We believe that issuing a raft of midnight regulations would be inconsistent with your January 2009 commitment to transparency and accountability in the rulemaking process,” the leaders wrote. “Moreover, with the nation facing continued economic challenges, it would be ill-advised to issue a series of last minute controversial or economically significant regulations that would distract a new congress and potentially a new administration from focusing on jobs and the economy.

“We ask, therefore, that you reaffirm your pledge to transparency, openness, and accountability by committing to withhold from issuing any economically significant or controversial “midnight regulations” after the current fiscal year ends on September 30, 2012.”

Boehner and McConnell wrote that regulatory statements made by Obama in this year’s State of the Union address were “misleading.”

“Although you may have promulgated slightly fewer rules in your first 33 months than the previous Administration, the number of economically significant federal rules, defined as those having an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more, has increased significantly,” they wrote. “Your Administration has also promulgated controversial rules which are designed to circumvent the express will of the Congress.”

“We are deeply concerned about the effect these regulations are having on economic growth and job creation in the country,” Boehner and McConnell added. “Small businesses in particular are suffering because of these rules.  Nearly half of small-business owners blame potential health care costs and government regulations as reasons why they are not hiring new workers.”