Bush Waves Goodbye With One Finger
And guess which one? Picking up on what has previously been written about midnight regulations, Rolling Stone details “Bush’s Final F.U.”These are laws that will be locked-in and hard to undo by the incoming administration. While every president has done some last-minute legal housekeeping, these wingnuts are doing it at a record pace.
“The administration is handing out final favors to its friends,” says Véronique de Rugy, a scholar at George Mason University who has tracked six decades of midnight regulations. “They couldn’t do it earlier – there would have been too many political repercussions. But with the Republicans having lost seats in Congress and the presidency changing parties, Bush has nothing left to lose.”
The most jaw-dropping of Bush’s rule changes is his effort to eviscerate the Endangered Species Act. Under a rule submitted in November, federal agencies would no longer be required to have government scientists assess the impact on imperiled species before giving the go-ahead to logging, mining, drilling, highway building or other development. The rule would also prohibit federal agencies from taking climate change into account in weighing the impact of projects that increase greenhouse emissions – effectively dooming polar bears to death-by-global-warming. According to Carl Pope, executive director of the Sierra Club, “They’ve taken the single biggest threat to wildlife and said, ‘We’re going to pretend it doesn’t exist, for regulatory purposes.'”
There’s more about what they’re doing to the environment, health care, and domestic spying:
Under midnight regulations, the administration is seeking to lock in the domestic spying it began even before 9/11. One rule under consideration would roll back Watergate-era prohibitions barring state and local law enforcement from spying on Americans and sharing that information with U.S. intelligence agencies. “If the federal government announced tomorrow that it was creating a new domestic intelligence agency of more than 800,000 operatives reporting on even the most mundane everyday activities, Americans would be outraged,” says Michael German, a former FBI agent who now serves as national security policy counsel for the ACLU. “This proposed rule change is the final step in creating an America we no longer recognize – an America where everyone is a suspect.”
And here is the best hope to undo what Bush is doing:
The best option for overturning the rules, ironically, may be a gift bestowed on Obama by Newt Gingrich. Known as the Congressional Review Act, it was passed in 1996 to give Congress the option of overriding what GOP leaders viewed at the time as excessive regulation by Bill Clinton. The CRA allows Congress to not only kill a new rule within 60 days, but to do so with a simple, filibuster-immune majority. De Rugy, the George Mason scholar, expects Democrats in the House and Senate to make “very active use of the Congressional Review Act.”Click here for reuse options!
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