President Bush may have hospitably welcomed his successor and his wife into the White House while promising a “transition of the highest order,” but despite voters’ overwhelming rejection of Republican ideology, his administration has been using its waning days in power to codify a host of harmful new pro-industry, anti-environmental rules and regulations.
As R. Jeffrey Smith and Juliet Eilperin wrote recently in the Washington Post, “In a burst of activity meant to leave a lasting stamp on the federal government, the Bush White House in the past month has approved 61 new regulations on environmental, security, social and commercial matters that by its own estimate will have an economic impact exceeding $1.9 billion annually.”
These so-called “midnight regulations” are free of Congressional oversight and will be completely legal once Bush signs off on them. They’ll allow factories to pollute more, let food manufacturers hide their toxins more easily, gives states the chance to restrict women’s access to abortion services and force municipalities to cut off aid to needy families in the middle of a recession.
On the environmental front, the latest rules show that the Bush administration is trying to lend a final assist to its crony industries that could be affected by looming pollution controls or wilderness-protection laws. A rule approved by the White House three days after the presidential election, for example, eased constraints on environmentally damaging oil shale development throughout the West, despite objections from Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter and a majority of the state’s congressional delegation.
The Bush White House’s perfidy is amusingly called out in the latest video from the good folks at Brave New Films. Their devastating spin on the holiday favorite ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, highlights the administration’s final, desperate power grab with piercing humor and unassailable facts. Playing the critical role of New Media Town Crier, BNF is refusing to allow the Bush Administration to stealthily sneak out the backdoor with what’s left of the family jewels.
Watch the video.
While President-elect Obama has vowed to roll back his predecessor’s abuses, many regulatory and legal observers say that it won’t be so easy given the veritable tidal wave of new rules on multiple fronts (close to 90, according to the Post), and the long, arduous regulatory requirements for repealing each rule.
There’s also not much of a procedural process to block “midnight regulations” but there are levers of power that can be pulled if the lame duck White House gets too carried away. So the best thing to do is send this video around and continue to shine a light on what the outgoing Administration is trying to do under the radar. It hopes to avoid scrutiny and achieve a few final victories in quiet. Let’s make some noise!