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H.R. 4612 (114th): Midnight Rule Relief Act of 2016

The text of the bill below is as of Feb 25, 2016 (Introduced).



2d Session

H. R. 4612


February 25, 2016

(for himself, Mrs. Lummis, Mr. Smith of Texas, Mr. Farenthold, Mr. Jody B. Hice of Georgia, Ms. Jenkins of Kansas, Mr. Mulvaney, Mr. DeSantis, Mr. Gosar, Mr. Ribble, Mrs. Miller of Michigan, and Mr. Blum) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and in addition to the Committee on the Judiciary, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned


To ensure economic stability, accountability, and efficiency of Federal Government operations by establishing a moratorium on midnight rules during a President’s final days in office, and for other purposes.


Short title

This Act may be cited as the Midnight Rule Relief Act of 2016.


Moratorium on midnight rules

Except as provided under sections 3 and 4, during the moratorium period, an agency may not propose or finalize any midnight rule unless the Administrator finds the midnight rule will not result in any of the following:


An annual effect on the economy of $100,000,000 or more.


A major increase in costs or prices for consumers, individual industries, Federal, State, or local government agencies, or geographic regions.


Significant adverse effects on competition, employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or on the ability of United States-based enterprises to compete with foreign-based enterprises in domestic and export markets.


A significant economic impact on a substantial number of small businesses.


Special rule on statutory, regulatory, and judicial deadlines


In general

Section 2 shall not apply with respect to any deadline for, relating to, or involving any midnight rule that—


was established before the beginning of the moratorium period; and


is required to occur during the moratorium period.


Publication of deadlines

Not later than 30 days after the beginning of a moratorium period, the Administrator shall identify and publish in the Federal Register a list of deadlines covered by subsection (a).




Emergency exception

Section 2 shall not apply to a midnight rule if the President determines by Executive order that the midnight rule is—


necessary because of an imminent threat to health or safety or other emergency;


necessary for the enforcement of criminal laws;


necessary for the national security of the United States; or


issued pursuant to any statute implementing an international trade agreement.


Deregulatory exception

Section 2 shall not apply to a midnight rule that the Administrator finds is limited to repealing an existing rule and certifies such finding in writing. The certification shall be published in the Federal Register.



In this Act:



The term Administrator means the Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs within the Office of Management and Budget.



The term agency has the meaning given that term under section 551 of title 5, United States Code, except such term does not include—


the Federal Election Commission;


the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System;


the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation; or


the United States Postal Service.



The term deadline means any date certain for fulfilling any obligation or exercising any authority established by or under any Federal statute or rule, or by or under any court order implementing any Federal statute, regulation, or rule.


Midnight rule

The term midnight rule means an agency statement of general applicability and future effect, issued during the moratorium period, that is intended to have the force and effect of law and is designed—


to implement, interpret, or prescribe law or policy; or


to describe the procedure or practice requirements of an agency.


Moratorium period

The term moratorium period means the day after the day referred to in section 1 of title 3, United States Code, through January 20 of the following year, in which a President is not serving a consecutive term.



The term rule has the meaning given that term under section 551 of title 5, United States Code.


Small business

The term small business has the meaning given that term under section 601 of title 5, United States Code.