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The Midnight Rules Relief Act

OUR POSITION: CSS opposes the bill and urges members of Congress to vote against it.

Capitol hill

The Midnight Rules Relief Act would amend the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to allow Congress to simultaneously disapprove of and reject all public protections finalized near the end of presidential terms, instead of blocking them one at a time, as permitted under current law.

Unlike the CRA’s expedited procedures, agency rules are subjected to myriad accountability mechanisms. For each rule, the agency must articulate a policy rationale that is supported by the rulemaking record and consistent with the requirements of the authorizing statute. In contrast, members of Congress would not have to articulate any rationale at all when rejecting dozens, perhaps even hundreds, of vital public safeguards at a time.

It is also crucial to underscore the far-reaching, negative consequences that these mass-disapproval resolutions would have. According to the CRA, resolutions of disapproval not only nullify the regulation in question; they also prohibit a federal agency from issuing any other regulation that is “substantially the same” in the future, unless specifically authorized to do so by a future act of Congress. As a result, these mass-disapproval resolutions would permanently block agencies from addressing threats to public health and safety.



CSS Resources

CSS Opposes the Midnight Rules Relief Act of 2017 (S. 34)
Letter to Members: May 16, 2017

Damaging Regulatory Legislation in HSGAC Mark-Up
Fact Sheet: May 16: 2017

House Republicans Poised to Gut Our System of Public Protections
Press Release: January 4, 2017

CSS Opposes the Midnight Rules Relief Act of 2017
Letter to Members: January 3, 2017

Groups Oppose the Midnight Rules Relief Act of 2017
Letter to Members: January 3, 2017

Groups Oppose the Midnight Rules Relief Act (H.R. 5982)
Letter to Members: November 15, 2016

CSS Opposes the Midnight Rules Relief Act (H.R. 5982)
Letter to Members: November 14, 2016

The Congressional Review Act: Questions and Answers
Fact Sheet: April 28, 2016



Resources From Members and Allies

CFA Urges Senate Committee Leaders to Oppose Midnight Rules Relief Act
Consumer Federation of America: May 16, 2017

Oppose S. 951, S.34, S.21 – Radical Attacks on New Public Health and Environmental Safeguards in the Guise of “Regulatory Reform”
League of Conservation Voters: May 16, 2017

Oppose H.R 21 & 26 – Radical Attacks on Public Protections
League of Conservation Voters: January 4, 2017

Midnight Rules Relief Act (Scorecard)
AFL-CIO: January 4, 2017

New Congress Kicks Off With Attacks on Science-Based Public Health Protections
Union of Concerned Scientists: January 3, 2017

APHA Opposes REINS Act and Midnight Rules Relief Act
American Public Health Association: January 3, 2017

CR-CU letter to the U.S. House Opposing H.R. 21, the Midnight Rules Relief Act
Consumer Reports and Consumers Union: January 3, 2017

The Assault on Our Safeguards
Center for Progressive Reform: November 22, 2016

ASBC Opposes the Midnight Rules Relief Act (H.R. 5982)
American Sustainable Business Council: November 15, 2016

Statement of Administration Policy on the Midnight Rules Relief Act (H.R. 5928)
The White House: November 14, 2016

Whack-a-Mole Day 5: A Brief Presidency
Public Citizen: October 21, 2016

Shining a Light on the “Midnight Rule” Boogeyman
Public Citizen: July 18, 2016

Midnight Regulations, Shmidnight Shmegulations
Center for Progressive Reform: February 12, 2016

Attacks on Science-Based Safeguards in Congress: Endangering a Century of Progress
Union of Concerned Scientists: May 26, 2015

The Congressional Review Act: A Primer
Center for Progressive Reform: January 12, 2011



Press Coverage

House Set to Upend Government’s Regulatory Powers
Newsweek: January 22, 2017

The So-Called ‘Midnight Rules Relief Act’ Is a Sweeping GOP Bill That Addresses a Non-Existent Problem
The Huffington Post: November 18, 2016

House Passes Bill Targeting ‘Midnight’ Obama Regs
The Hill: November 16, 2016

Beware the Midnight Rule Boogeyman
The Detroit News: August 9, 2016

Groups Agree on Existence, Not Quality, of Midnight Rules
Bloomberg BNA: July 19, 2016

Despite Independent Studies, “Midnight Rules” Debate Continues
Bloomberg BNA: July 19, 2016

Report Counters ‘Midnight Rules’ Accusations
The Hill: July 18, 2016

Obama to Aggressively Pursue 2016 Regulations Agenda
The Hill: June 8, 2016

Regulatory Agenda Offers Glimpse Into Obama Administration Priorities
RegBlog: February 17, 2016

OIRA Wish for 2016: An Orderly Regulatory Process
Bloomberg BNA: February 1, 2016

Agencies Told No Midnight Regulations
Bloomberg BNA: January 25, 2016