In a development with potential implications for any rulemaking decision the FCC might hand down before President Elect Trump takes office, House members approved legislation that would amend the Congressional Review Act “to allow Congress to use a joint resolution to disapprove multiple regulations that federal agencies have submitted for Congressional review within the last 60 legislative days of a session of Congress during the final year of a President’s term.”
Introduced by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), and adopted last Thursday by a vote of 240-179, the Midnight Rules Relief Act would give Congress the power to “disapprove a group of such regulations together . . . instead of the current procedure of considering only one regulation at a time.” While House Republican leaders offered no details on pending FCC or other agency regulations the bill might be intended to address, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) referred to proposed regulations that “are in the fast lane for approval, without sufficient transparency or the proper time for the American people to comment and have their views taken fully into account.” Asserting, “the practice of midnight regulation does a disservice to the American people,” Goodlatte praised the House vote as one which “stops abuse of this practice.”
The Senate is expected to take up the legislation next Monday when Congress resumes business after the Thanksgiving holiday. Maintaining that the Obama Administration “continues to be guided by the same rigorous practices and principles used to develop and review regulations that have been upheld through the entirety of this administration and previous administrations,” the Office of Management and Budget confirmed that President Obama’s senior advisors will recommend a veto if the measure passes the Senate.