The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than three million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations, and dedicated to promoting, protecting, and defending America’s free enterprise system, supports H.R. 5982, the “Midnight Rules Relief Act of 2016.” This bill would allow Congress under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to review together multiple problematic regulations issued during the last months of a President’s term, reducing the risk that a poorly-written rule escapes CRA review because there is not enough time for separate debate and votes on each rule.
A recent report issued by the Regulatory Studies Center at the George Washington University entitled The Final Countdown: Projecting Midnight Regulations found that executive branch agencies typically issue a significantly greater number of rules during the final months of an administration in a rushed effort to implement remaining policy objectives. Midnight regulations issued by prior administrations have proven highly problematic and required subsequent correction. The ability of Congress to disapprove these rules under the CRA is limited by tight deadlines for action that make separate debate and votes on a rule-by-rule basis impractical.
H.R. 5982, the Midnight Rules Relief Act of 2016, would be a helpful tool to address this problem. By allowing for debate and disapproval votes on several problematic regulations bundled together as a group, the bill would make the CRA review process far less time consuming and inefficient and more useful overall. The Chamber urges the House to pass this bill.