White House Calls On Federal Agencies To Avoid “Midnight Regulations”

Date: January 27, 2016 Last Edit: January 28, 2016

Administration Seeks To Avoid Last Minute Rush To Regulate

In a Dec. 17 memo, Howard Shelanski, the administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, called on Federal agencies to submit major rulemakings by summer to avoid a last-minute flurry of bureaucratic rules or “midnight regulations” as President Obama’s term in office ends in 2017. The OIRA is a little known office that reviews regulations before they are finalized. The Hill reported OIRA said it “understands that agencies will need to issue regulations through 2016, since they are part of the government’s normal operations, but said big regulatory initiatives should be finished well before the end of Obama’s term.” Shelanski said in the letter, “To the extent feasible and consistent with your priorities, statutory obligations and judicial deadlines, however, agencies should strive to complete their highest priority rulemakings by summer 2016 to avail and end-of-year scramble that has the potential to lower the quality of regulations that OIRA receives for review and to tax the resources available for interagency review.”

What This Means For Small Business

Government regulations disproportionately affect small businesses, so avoiding a rush to issue incomplete or poorly-thought out regulations at the end of a presidency is unabashedly a good thing. However, it would be better for small business owners if the Obama administration called for agencies to rethink the need to issue new regulations altogether, as this administration has done more harm than good for small businesses in terms of over-burdensome, aggressive regulations.

Additional Reading

The NFIB has outlined its regulatory agenda for small business. In a column for Forbes, George Leef highlighted President Obama’s abuse of executive power through the administrative process.

Note: this article is intended to keep small business owners up on the latest news. It does not necessarily represent the policy stances of NFIB.

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