Ribble Bill Protects Job Creators from Costly, Last Minute Regulations

Apr 24, 2012 Issues: Congressional Reform, Budget

Washington, D.C. – Representative Reid Ribble (WI-08) today introduced the Midnight Rule Relief Act, which would put an end to “significant regulations” imposed by a lame duck President. Congressman Ribble’s bill is moving quickly and is scheduled for an Oversight and Government Reform Committee markup in the next couple of days.

“My legislation will ensure that businesses in northeast Wisconsin and across the country aren’t hit by an onslaught of new, costly regulations imposed by an Administration that isn’t accountable to the people,” said Ribble. “Instead of serving an effective purpose, many federal regulations nowadays act like crosshairs on job creation. Unnecessary regulations could stifle productivity, hinder job creation and deter innovation. As a former small business owner, I believe we should be incentivizing America’s job creators rather than targeting them with midnight-hour regulations…from any Administration.”

“This is a straightforward good government reform,” said Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. “Any president who has lost his mandate to govern should not be permitted to hatch costly new regulatory schemes on his way out the door.”

The Midnight Rule Relief Act would stop “significant regulations” from being put forth during lame duck periods after Presidential elections. Senator Ron Johnson introduced a companion bill in the Senate today.

  • Black out period begins on the day after the election and would end on January 20th.


  • Places a moratorium on regulations that cost the economy $100 million or more annually, or results in major cost or price increases for consumers, industries, or government agencies.


  • Includes exceptions for rules that are necessary for imminent health or safety threats, enforcement of criminal laws, national security, or the implementation of trade agreements.


  • Exempts rules that are limited to repealing existing regulations.


Since 1948, when control of the White House switches to the opposite party, the volume of regulations promulgated by the outgoing Administration during the lame duck period averaged 17% higher than the volume of rules issued at the same time in any other year. This trend is even more dramatic in years since 1970 – in 1980, 1992, and 2000, new regulations spiked when there was a switch in party control.

This Administration has put forth a larger number of "significant regulations” relative to the previous administration.  Given the historical pattern, there is reasonable concern that this trend could accelerate during future lame duck periods.