House Republicans to Obama Administration: No New Regulations

McCarthy and committee chairmen send letter to all government agencies

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and GOP committee chairmen sent a letter to all government agencies requesting they not advance new regulations during the remainder of President Obama’s term. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy  and Republican committee chairmen plan to send a letter Tuesday to all government agencies requesting that no new regulations move forward in the remaining months of the Obama administration.

“This is not a new request,” McCarthy said at a press conference Tuesday. “This request actually happened when Barack Obama won — Rahm Emanuel sent the same letter.”

The House GOP’s efforts to block the lame-duck president from advancing regulations doesn’t end with the letter. The House will vote this week on legislation to prevent the so-called midnight regulations.

Obama has threatened to veto that measure, but conservatives have suggested that a provision to ban midnight regulations be attached to an upcoming appropriations vehicle to keep the government funded beyond Dec. 9. Conservatives want that vehicle to be a continuing resolution rather than an omnibus or a series of minibuses, but House GOP leaders are still discussing that with President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team. 

McCarthy declined to specify whether a provision banning midnight regulations would be attached to the year-end appropriations vehicle, saying, “We’ll continue to work to see where we end up.”

But the California Republican added that a ban is not the final backstop. 

“You also have the Congressional Review Act, so if they do do something, we can always come back and vote it out,” he said. “It would just be a dumb move on their part from agency to try to move anything.”

An spokesperson for the Office of Management and Budget said that the administration will continue to develop and review regulation under "the same rigorous practices and principles" it and other administrations have followed.  

"This means that rules will be drafted with the careful consideration they are due under relevant statutes, applicable executive orders, and related guidance, in addition to benefiting from adequate public scrutiny and interagency review," the spokesperson said. 

John T. Bennett contributed to this report. 

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