House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) said that the House will, after the July Fourth recess, vote on the Midnight Rule Relief Act of 2012, HR 4607, sponsored by Rep. Reid Ribble (R-WI) would prohibit a federal agency from proposing or finalizing any midnight rule that would likely result in an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more; a major increase in costs or prices; or significant adverse effects on competition, employment, investment, productivity, or the ability of U.S.-based enterprises to compete internationally.
HR 4607 would define "midnight rule" as an agency statement of general applicability and future effect that is issued during a defined moratorium period that is designed to implement or interpret law or policy; or describe the procedure or practice requirements of an agency. The bill would define the "moratorium period" as the day after the Tuesday next after the first Monday in November in every fourth year succeeding a presidential election through January 20 of the following year in which a President is not serving a consecutive term. This definition essentially creates a black out period that begins on the day after the election and ends on January 20th.
The legislation would exempt the FDIC and the Federal Reserve Board from its embrace. HR 4607 would also exempt any midnight rule that the President determines is necessary because of an imminent threat to health or safety or other emergency, to enforce criminal laws, to protect U.S. national security, or to implement an international trade agreement.
HR 4607 was reported out of the Committee on Oversight and Reform by a voice vote. There is a Senate companion bill, S 2638, sponsored by Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI).