They are called “midnight” regulations – last minute efforts made by presidents to create policy before their time in the Oval Office runs out.

And Barack Obama’s deadline is 11:59 a.m. on January 20, 2017.

In the final month of the contentious presidential campaign this fall, Obama hit the trail hard urging voters to cast their votes for Hillary Clinton – essentially a third term for him.

He even went so far as to point out that his policies and “accomplishments” were on the ballot, even though his name wasn’t– barred only by the Twenty-second Amendment enacted after Franklin Roosevelt died of a stroke only weeks after taking the oath for the fourth time.

But voters rejected both the president and his bid to install Clinton as another four years of his policy-making, choosing instead a political neophyte and Washington outsider to take the country in a different direction.

Now, federal agencies are sprinting to put executive actions and regulatory moves on Obama’s desk hoping to get them in place before Trump takes office in January.

Republicans, who have majorities in both houses of Congress, will be able to nix many of the moves that Trump himself will be able to simply wipe away with his own pen that will replace the one Obama has used to sign masses of Executive Orders to bypass Congress.

The new measures – not laws, but regulations enforceable by departments and agencies – from the Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy sent an agency-wide email to employees laying out the strategy the day after the election to continue ramming regulations through up to the last minute of Obama’s term.

“As I’ve mentioned to you before, we’re running — not walking — through the finish line of President Obama’s presidency. Thank you for taking that run with me. I’m looking forward to all the progress that still lies ahead.”

The last-minute measures range from the way Medicare drug payments and protection for federal funding of Planned Parenthood to limits on air pollution, visas for certain immigrants, among almost a hundred others, including a ban on cellphone calls on commercial flights and a requirement that most freight trains have at least two crew members on duty at all times.

Congress does have a way to permanently kill any such midnight move by the president using a 1996 law, the Congressional Review Act, to repeal any rule finalized by an agency after May 30, 2016.

The process requires only a simple majority – which the Republicans hold, and prohibits the agency from enacting a “substantially” similar rule.

President-elect Trump has vowed to repeal two rules for any single rule adopted during his administration to bring the massive regulatory system under control.

Read more here: Politico

 

 

 

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