Friday, February 27, 2009

Midnight regulations and the American King

I'm just learning about midnight regulations now, and I am appalled. The president becomes a king in the last 100 days of his term by using executive tools (midnight regulations, executive orders, presidential proclamations, executive agreements, and national security initiatives) because Congress is too busy to block him while its own term is ending.
...[The new president] can try to reverse the midnight regulations by using a law that has been successfully deployed just once. The Congressional Review Act creates an expedited process for Congress to repeal, by a simple majority vote in each house, any regulation it doesn't like. The president then signs the bill, and the rules are reversed. Given the Democratic majority, that tactic might work this time around. Now is the time to see whether Democrats really are any different from Republicans. (Veronique de Rugy, Reason, Feb. 1, 2009)
It would be much more effective to put strict limits on the number of regulations the president can issue in the last 100 days of his term, when he faces absolutely no political repercussions. Waiting until the new president takes office is clearly a less effective way to undo the cloud of midnight regulations issued by the outgoing president: 82% of Clinton's midnight regulations were left unchanged by the new Bush administration. This isn't a political issue. The party affiliation of the outgoing president isn't significant in this regard. This is an issue concerning whether the government is representational or a monarchy.