November 28, 2016
As Americans continue to celebrate (or mourn, depending on how you voted) the transition from President Obama to President Trump, most news is focused on the president-elect's picks for key staff positions for his incoming administration. What is less talked about is the Obama administration's efforts to pass "midnight regulations" as a parting shot.
Regulation has been a byword for the Obama administration. Think about all they've done in the past eight years. The administration's regulations showed a pattern of lawlessness which often forced an extremist view on Americans. The administration's first year involved rescinding President Ronald Reagan's executive order preventing funding for international organizations that participate in abortion, and rewrote regulations protecting the conscience rights of pro-life health care entities. Remember how the administration also delayed for a year the statutory deadline for Obamacare's individual mandate and has subsidized failing insurance companies -- which Republicans claim is not allowed under the text of Obamacare?
We've also written in the past about the administration regulations and the numerous lawsuits over the Department of Health and Human Services' contraceptive mandate which the Supreme Court rejected as it applies to family owned businesses like Hobby Lobby. And courts are still assessing the regulation's accounting gimmick as it applies to non-profits like the Little Sisters of the Poor. The Department of Education's "guidance" earlier this year was issued to force schools to allow boys in girls' bathrooms and showers. The list goes on and on.
Yet, despite the election results, news reports suggest multiple federal agencies will attempt to dump even more regulations on the American people during Obama's last month in office. These regulations will impact a variety of issues, from energy, transportation, trade, workplace, education, and even a proposed rule to prevent states from redirecting funds away from groups like Planned Parenthood.
Congress is aware of the administration's plans and is not impressed. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and House committee chairmen sent a letter to department secretaries and administrators cautioning them not to finalize pending rules or regulations in the last days. Leader McCarthy stated "should you ignore this counsel, please be aware that we will work with our colleagues to ensure that Congress scrutinizes your actions, and, if appropriate, overturns them." The Congressional Review Act grants Congress the ability to use expedited procedures in the House and the Senate to disapprove of major regulations.
The outgoing administration's efforts to dump more extreme regulations on our nation are telling of its goals. The focus is clearly on the president's liberal legacy and ignores America's rejection of their radical policies. It's a good thing the people spoke and Congress is listening.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.