Bill Reining in Last-Minute Rulemaking Advances in Congress

The Heartland Institute discusses midnight regulations with Clyde Wayne Crews. 

Clyde Wayne Crews Jr., vice president for policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, says midnight regulations aren’t the only kind of backdoor presidential maneuver about which lawmakers should worry.

“The thing that’s made this year interesting is that there has been a lot of regulatory debate,” Crews said. “The fact is that Obama isn’t going to be doing anything legislatively, so there’s an interest in doing things through regulation. What I’ve noticed, increasingly is it’s not that Congress passes a law, of which there are about 100 a year; it’s not that agencies pass rules, of which there are about 3,500 a year; but there are also agency guidance documents.

“These so-called guidance documents, guidance bulletins, notices, memoranda, circulars—there are all kinds of names for these things by which agencies give interpretations of statutes—they are not supposed to be binding,” said Crews. “However, agencies use these guidance documents to bind.”

“The more focus we put on midnight regulations, which is good, we also have to put focus on agency guidance, given that the federal government is so large,” Crews said. “It can regulate with these guidance documents and not issue formal regulations at all, so the midnight regulations, as much as we want to beat that down, become less important, because they can emphasize this guidance on the side.”

Read the full article at Heartland Institute.