Politics

White House pushed controversial rules past the 2012 election to keep voters in the dark

White House pushed controversial rules past the 2012 election to keep voters in the dark

Pursuant to an earlier point about how the Left can never, ever be honest with voters whose lives must be managed by the government, White House officials are finally letting their hair down and admitting something critics pointed out before the 2012 election: a tidal wave of controversial rules and regulations were deliberately delayed, to keep the American people from knowing about them, until it was too late to do anything about it at the polls.  From the Washington Post:

The White House systematically delayed enacting a series of rules on the environment, worker safety and health care to prevent them from becoming points of contention before the 2012 election, according to documents and interviews with current and former administration officials.

Some agency officials were instructed to hold off submitting proposals to the White House for up to a year to ensure that they would not be issued before voters went to the polls, the current and former officials said.

The delays meant that rules were postponed or never issued. The stalled regulations included crucial elements of the Affordable Care Act, what bodies of water deserved federal protection, pollution controls forindustrial boilers and limits on dangerous silica exposure in the workplace.

The Obama administration has repeatedly said that any delays until after the electionwere coincidental and that such decisions were made without regard to politics. But seven current and former administration officials told The Washington Post that the motives behind many of the delays were clearly political, as Obama’s top aides focused on avoiding controversy before his reelection.

The Obama operation was less than honest?  Color me shocked.

We’re not learning about this now because our crack media finally broke a year-long investigation into politicized regulatory delay.  It’s because an independent agency called the Administration Conference of the United States just issued a report packed with anonymous interviews.  The ACUS report said Team Obama slow-walked rules past the election far more than any of their predecessors, a judgment shared by several expert observers in the Washington Post report.  That includes Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), chair of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Oversight, Federal Rights, and Agency Action, although his vows to make White House officials “accountable” and “hold their feet to the fire” will be a lot easier to believe when we see some burning feet.

The Post speculates that the arrival of old Clinton hand John Podesta as a senior Obama White House adviser “is likely to accelerate the number of new rules and executive orders, given Podesta’s long-standing support for using executive action to achieve the President’s goals despite congressional opposition.”  Sure, now that the voters don’t have anything to say about it any more, they’ll kick the Imperial Presidency into high gear!

The Washington Examiner has a concise tally of the rules delayed, and a few prominent examples:

After Obama took office in 2009, the number of reviews for significant rules increased each year until 2012, when the number dropped from over 700 reviews to just 424, a more than 60 percent reduction.

Similarly, the average number of days to complete each review increased dramatically in 2012, from about 60 days in 2011 to 79 days in 2012 and 140 days as of June 30.

[...] The rule that defined “essential health benefits” under Obamacare was delayed until after the election, as well as information pertaining to which Americans would qualify for federal subsidies in the exchanges. Essentially, the rules pertaining to “affordable” and “quality” were delayed for political purposes.

The Treasury Department also held back finalizing tax-credit rules until after the election as well.

To avoid angering the oil industry, the administration delayed EPA rules requiring lower-pollution vehicles and a reduction in the amount of sulfur in gasoline. Agency officials were purportedly told to delay the rule “because critics could use it to suggest that the administration was raising gas prices,” according to the Post.

The now-infamous EPA rule that makes it nearly impossible to open a new coal plant was also delayed.

Well, we all know how delaying those ObamaCare rules worked out.  One vindicated source of warnings about the post-election regulatory tsunami was Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), as noted by the Daily Caller:

Last year, Inhofe issued a report saying that the Obama administration was “punting” a slew of Environmental Protection Agency regulations into 2013, well after voters had hit the polls in November.

“President Obama has spent the past year punting on a slew of job-killing EPA regulations that will destroy millions of American jobs and cause energy prices to skyrocket even more,” Senator Inhofe said in a statement. “From greenhouse gas regulations to water guidance to the tightening of the ozone standard, the Obama-EPA has delayed the implementation of rule after rule because they don’t want all those pink slips and price spikes to hit until after the election.

[...] “But President Obama’s former climate czar Carol Browner was very clear about what’s in store for next year: she told several green groups not to worry because President Obama has a big green ‘to-do’ list for 2013 so they’ll get what they want,” Inhofe added.

The Inhofe report from October 2012, detailed several costly EPA regulations, including controversial greenhouse gas regulations, new expansive water protection rules and stricter tailpipe standards.

All three of these major regulations are now being openly pursued by the EPA. In fact, Obama made a renewed commitment over the summer of 2013 to address global warming and address the country’s environmental concerns.

No matter how long the economy slumbers in high-unemployment doldrums, how high the national debt soars, or how much of a crisis hyper-regulation produces in the shriveled free market, there will always be plenty of time and money for the Church of Global Warming… provided they keep their hymns a bit subdued during election season.

 

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