Ribble Bill Ready for Floor Action

Apr 26, 2012 Issues: Congressional Reform, Budget

Washington, D.C. – Representative Reid Ribble’s (WI-08) Midnight Rule Relief Act, H.R. 4607, passed out of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee today allowing it to proceed to the House Floor for a vote. Congressman Ribble’s bill would stop “significant regulations” from being imposed during a lame duck period.

“My legislation will serve as a levee to protect job creators against a flood of new regulations imposed by officials with no accountability to the American public,” said Ribble. “Increasing regulations during a lame duck period has become an historical trend, and I want to put a stop to it.  Elections, on either side of the aisle, have consequences and neither party should engage in gimmicks and games as they’re leaving power.  This bill would help prevent that.

“American small businesses have been called on to expand operations and hire new workers, but at the same time they are being buried under a mountain of regulatory red tape. Last-minute regulations will only increase the cost on our nation’s job creators and create more uncertainty. My legislation will help keep lame duck Administrations in line by preventing them from imposing costly regulations and act as a reminder that government answers to the American people, not the other way around.”

The National Federation for Independent Business (NFIB) backs Rep. Ribble’s bill.

NFIB Letter in support of Midnight Rule Relief Act

H.R. 4607, Midnight Rule Relief Act

  • 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.