It’s not uncommon for an outgoing President to take last licks on regulations he favors. This has been the normal practice for both Democratic and Republican Presidents for the last 25+ years. According to a report from the Mercatus Center at George Manson University, there are more than 4 dozen regulations poised to be finalized by the end of this year.
What’s on tap?
Which regulations may we see finalized shortly? Here are just some key measures impacting small businesses:
- DOL’s rule on overtime pay, which would change the definition of a “white collar” worker exempt from the overtime pay rule (by raising the earnings limit it would make millions more workers eligible for overtime pay).
- Food labeling rules from the FDA and HHS (see FDA.gov).
- DHS and USCIS rules on the retention of EB-1, EB-2, and EB-3 immigrant workers.
- HHS and OCR rules on nondiscrimination in health programs and activities.
- DOL and EBSA rules on the definition of “fiduciary, ”which related to investment advice for retirement plans (i.e., is expected to raise the cost for small retirement plans).
Can the speeding train be stopped?
Congress is trying to slow down the regulatory process. The Midnight Rule Relief Act of 2016 (H.R. 4612), which was introduced this past February, would:
“prohibits a federal agency (excluding the Federal Election Commission, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, or the U.S. Postal Service) from proposing or finalizing any midnight rule unless the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) of the Office of Management and Budget finds that such a rule will not result in: (1) an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more; (2) a major increase in costs or prices; (3) significant adverse effects on competition, employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or the ability of U.S.-based enterprises to compete internationally; or (4) a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.”
The moratorium period on midnight regulations would run from the date after Election Day in the final year of the President’s term through January 20th of the following year if the President is not serving another term.
GovTrack.us only gives the measure an 11% chance of enactment. Do you think that the support of small business owners may help to increase the odds of passage?