The FCC’s Open Meeting this week was completed very quickly owing to the cancellation of most of the agenda after Republican leaders on the House and Senate Commerce Committees warned FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler to avoid controversial moves in the lame duck period leading up to Inauguration Day. Indeed, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) led a charge to urge leaders in agencies across the Obama Administration to put a freeze on regulations until President Trump takes office.
Rather than simply depending on the cooperation of the administration, however, the House also acted this week on legislation to expedite the process for rolling back regulations they would find offensive. The House approved by a 240-179 vote the Midnight Rules Relief Act (H.R. 5982), which amends the Congressional Review Act to allow disapproval of late-term regulations as a block rather than one by one. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) commented, “The last thing that we need to see today or in the next weeks is unelected bureaucrats pushing through regulations at the 11th hour. We look forward to tackling regulatory reform in the new unified Republican government.”
President Obama has issued a veto threat against this legislation, but it could portend action in the new Congress.
By Aaron Mercer, Vice President of Government Relations
Published: November 18, 2016