House GOP using new tactic to block Obama regulations

You may have thought the ship had already sailed on several Obama administration initiatives which were rightly angering conservatives across the country. Two of them in particular – new EPA restrictions on power plant emissions and NLRB rules which fast track union elections – caused considerable ire on the Right. But as it turns out, the ship may be sailing, but it hasn’t entirely disappeared over the horizon yet. House Republicans are moving this week to make use of an infrequently seen procedural maneuver to block both of them.

Republicans in Congress launched bids Thursday to nullify Obama administration rules that would speed up union elections and set the first national air pollution standards for toxic mercury pollution from the nation’s power plants.

The rarely used tactic, known as a resolution of disapproval, requires a simple majority for passage. Both have only a small chance of clearing the Senate, but a vote would force some Democrats to take a public stand on two volatile issues in an election year.

As noted, optimism isn’t terribly high for this to work, as they’d have to get the still Democrat controlled Senate to go along. But this is an election year with a still weak economy, lots of people out of work, and a pack of Senators who have a nervous look about them in terms of keeping their jobs. When faced with the prospect of either bucking the President or casting a vote which will cost jobs (as power plants shut down) and drive up energy costs for already strained taxpayer budgets, who knows what may be possible.

The NLRB item may be a tougher sell, depending which state the Senators hail from. Unions have been losing popularity in some areas – particularly public sector unions – as reports of their abuses of government dollars filter out, but in other places they remain quite strong. Expect votes on this in the coming weeks.

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