By law, the federal government is required to release a semi-annual unified regulatory agenda in which all agencies must catalog their rule-making intentions for the upcoming year, in order that the American people can anticipate, object, and/or plan for them before they actually happen. Hem, hem:
The American people deserve a regulatory system that works for them, not against them: a regulatory system that protects and improves their health, safety, environment, and well-being and improves the performance of the economy without imposing unacceptable or unreasonable costs on society; regulatory policies that recognize that the private sector and private markets are the best engine for economic growth; regulatory approaches that respect the role of State, local, and tribal governments; and regulations that are effective, consistent, sensible, and understandable. … As part of the Unified Regulatory Agenda, beginning in 1994, each agency shall prepare a Regulatory Plan (Plan) of the most important significant regulatory actions that the agency reasonably expects to issue in proposed or final form in that fiscal year or thereafter.
But heck, what are things like ‘openness’ and ‘oversight’ and ‘legal requirements’ to The Most Transparent Administration, Evah? They’re more like… guidelines than actual rules.
For months now, lawmakers have been complaining about the Obama administration’s glib dismissal of their explicitly promised commitment to transparency and their blithe failure to publish either a spring or a fall regulatory agenda — which is even worse when you consider the fact that his administration has been rolling out new regulations at an economically soul-crushing pace. Wouldn’t want to start circulating anything that might damper the president’s chances ahead of the election, especially with all the mega-rules of Dodd-Frank and ObamaCare still unwritten, now would we?
But, lo and behold, the Obama administration finally released their regulatory agenda, on Friday afternoon — just as everybody was leaving town for the four-day Christmas holiday. A convenient accident of timing, or one of the most news-dumpy Friday news dump, ever?
After taking criticism for missing an October deadline, the Obama administration Friday released its list of proposed government-wide regulations that it plans to consider in the next year.
The administration put out its notice, called the unified regulatory agenda, online around 3 p.m. on the Friday before Christmas, after most lawmakers had left town. The proposed rules cover everything from power plant pollution to health-care standards to workplace safety. Critics who accuse President Obama of being an overzealous regulator said the timing of the announcement was no accident.
“President Obama has earned a permanent spot on the disclosure naughty list as his administration dumped their entire regulatory agenda out to the public when everyone else was celebrating the holidays,” said Rick Manning, communications director for Americans for Limited Government. “The late Friday dump cannot be good news for those concerned about the regulatory overreach that this administration has become renowned for.”
Merry flipping Christmas, America.