House Poised For Major Assault on Public Safeguards

WASHINGTON – The Republican-controlled House has approved the Midnight Rules Relief Act of 2017, the opening move in a coming massive attack on federal protections that includes the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act (REINS) and the Regulatory Accountability Act (RAA). 

The following is a statement by Scott Slesinger, legislative director at the Natural Resources Defense Council:

“This first gambit by the House is a dramatic sign of what’s to come: a radical effort to strip away existing public protections and shut down future rulemaking by agencies that exist to serve Americans. 

“The Senate and the public should reject this move to cripple key health, environmental, safety, consumer and financial safeguards—just as the American people forced a swift retreat on ethics revisions the day Congress convened.”

The Midnight Rules Act would let Congress repeal, in one single package, dozens of public safeguards put in place over the past 12 months. Despite the misleading name, it would apply to rules that have been years in the making, many of which are required by law.

The REINS Act would make it virtually impossible to put in place new public safeguards, by requiring any major rule to be approved by both houses of Congress within a limited period of time in order to take effect.

The RAA would revamp and significantly slow down the process by which rules are promulgated.  It would require over 60 new steps in the regulatory process, most of which ignore the benefits of the rules, while exaggerating the costs.  Some of its provisions could make it difficult for any new rule to pass judicial review.

For more information, see this blog by David Goldston, NRDC’s director of government affairs.


The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 2.5 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City; Washington, D.C.; Los Angeles; San Francisco; Chicago; Bozeman, Montana; and Beijing. Visit us at and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.

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