Payne, Jr. Statement on “Midnight Rules” Legislation

Jan 4, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr. (NJ-10) issued the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 21, the Midnight Rules Relief Act of 2017:

“Instead of strengthening the middle class and expanding opportunity for American families, Congressional Republicans have prioritized passing partisan legislation that will enable them to unravel the progress of the Obama administration over the past several months. It is an irresponsible measure that sets up Republicans and the Trump administration to overturn carefully thought-out and crafted regulations to protect the health and safety of our communities. I strongly oppose this bill.”

BACKGROUND: THE MIDNIGHT RULES RELIEF ACT OF 2017

The Midnight Rules Relief Act of 2017 amends the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to allow the 115th Congress to overturn in one vote any rules and regulations submitted at the end of President Obama’s administration. Currently, Congress has to disapprove of one regulation at a time. Once a regulation is invalidated, it cannot be reissued by the same agency without congressional approval.

Most of the regulations the legislation would threaten have been studied and vetted for months if not years, contrary to Republican claims that the Obama administration is rushing through regulations prior to the end of the president’s term. In 2016, the Coalition for Sensible Safeguards argued that House-passed legislation nearly identical to H.R. 21 was “based on a fatally flawed premise – namely, that regulations which are proposed or finalized during the so called ‘midnight’ rulemaking period are rushed and inadequately vetted.”

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