A new report from the American Action Forum (AAF) suggests President Barack Obama may have had this year’s midterm elections in mind when coordinating the implementation of a bevy of new environmental, health, finance and labor regulations.
“After reviewing the administration’s most recent agenda of federal rulemakings, it appears there are at least 15 major regulations scheduled for release after the upcoming midterms,” AAF wrote in a report released Thursday. “Combined, just six of these rules could impose more than $34 billion in costs.”
AAF, which describes itself as a “center-right policy institute,” noted the $34 billion estimate may be a very conservative one. The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ground-level ozone standards plan, scheduled to be published in December of this year, “actually does not have an attached cost,” AAF noted, observing that the same standards, which Obama vetoed in 2011, were projected at the time to cost $90 billion.
The report acknowledges that many of these regulations have been in the works for a long time. However, the White House has already demonstrated — as it is now doing with the EPA’s controversial carbon proposals, which are still in the public comment phase — that it may have had politics in mind, all along, by coordinating with Federal agencies to ensure unpopular policies won’t be enacted until after Election Day.
Whether that’s a coincidence is, of course, a matter of speculation. But that speculation is reasonable to anyone who observed the Obama Administration’s post-election timing of new rules back in 2012.
“Recently, numerous reports have highlighted how the White House delayed controversial regulations until after Election Day in 2012,” AAF wrote. “… Many of these [new] regulations are controversial, including the GHG [greenhouse gas] rule, and have spent years in the courts and the rulemaking process. Regardless of possible motive, if this schedule remains in place, there will be no shortage of major regulations issued immediately after Election Day.”
For a tabular breakdown of the rules changes that won’t come until after the November elections, see AAF’s full report.