Buried on page A19 of the Washington Post was the latest example of the Obama administration willfully, flagrantly ignoring its obligations under federal law.
In the last two fiscal years alone, according to a report from Juliet Eilperin, over 1,200 regulations are technically invalid under federal law. The reason lies in a 1996 law stating that “federal rules are supposed to be reported to the House and Senate in paper form and to the Government Accountability Office electronically.”
Since 2012, however, the administration has not felt the need to comply with such a burdensome law, lest it get in the way of thousands of regulations that it deems needful of implementation. The regulations were not sent back to Congress for review because of “bureaucratic oversight or because they were considered too minor to be reported,” Eilperin noted.
But it seems not all of these regulations are minor or inconsequential in nature, however. In fact, “43 have been deemed significant by the Office of Management and Budget, and six of those counted as major.” The problem is that major rules are not supposed to go into effect “until 60 days after they are reported to Congress or published in the Federal Register.”
Lawmakers have evidently found the law to be “a major hassle,” impeding the speedy implementation of new regulations. It seems the Congress and bureaucrats alike desire no oversight of the regulatory state.The House Judiciary Committee in 2009 reported that “the flow of paper poses a significant increment of workload for a range of individuals.” Yes, the flow of paper only becomes an issue in Washington when it gets in the way of expanding government.
Deep in her article, Eilperin did give voice to Don Nickles, former Republican Senator from Oklahoma, who was a sponsor of the law. He believes it is clear that the administration is breaking the law, and thinks that the law should be more strictly enforced. He asserted that the statute “helps lawmakers hold hearings and use other tactics to influence regulations before they take effect.”
While this is hardly a problem unique to the Obama administration – there have been instances of the Bush administration failing to submit rules to Congress – the number has skyrocketed during the Obama presidency.
This is just the latest instance of his administration flouting federal law, and it has gained scarce attention from the media.