With inauguration day a few weeks away, President #Obama is squeezing out enough regulations and executive actions to hamstring the GOP and President-elect #Donald Trump’s aggressive 100-day agenda. The president’s most provocative rule was blocking new oil and gas leases in the Atlantic Ocean and Arctic using a little-known law from the 1950s at the behest of anti-fossil fuel activists. And according to analysts, more like that are coming.
Obama is also preparing to transfer at least 22 Guantanamo Bay detainees to other countries, unable to keep his campaign promise of closing the prison for good.
And to the chagrin of Republicans and Democrats, the U.S. abstained from voting on a U.N. resolution condemning Israel’s settlement activity on contested land. Media outlets are reporting the resolution was spearheaded by Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry.
Barack Obama, John Kerry Behind 'Shameful' UN Settlement Vote: Official https://t.co/leIwldyPsj— Amy Jones (@Amy____Jones) December 24, 2016
More to come
And Obama isn’t done yet. Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary, said all the recent executive actions were already in the works before Hillary Clinton lost the election.
He noted that none were done in haste, though critics believe if the election outcome had been different, the onslaught of last-minute rules would be doubtful.
Politico is reporting at least 98 regulations will be classified as “economically significant,” because the cost of compliance and consumer impact would total $100 million or more. The conservative American Action Forum (AAF) used the Federal Register and estimated the “midnight regulations,” or those passed in the two months preceding the inauguration, would cost $44.1 billion.
Racing to the ‘finish line’
The AAF has been tracking current and previous administrations and said December was the most active month ever for regulations. That’s not surprising given Obama has issued the highest number of major regulations in history. Even Gina McCarthy, the EPA’s head, sent out a staff memo urging employees that “we’re running—not walking—through the finish line of President Obama’s presidency.” That means more rules to battle #Climate Change.
So far the EPA has rolled out stricter greenhouse gas regulations for cars and light trucks, pushing the miles per gallon to 54.1 by 2022 to 2025. That will add up to $6,000 to the price of a new vehicle. And the Interior Department issued a rule to reduce methane emissions when extracting oil and natural gas on federal lands. Studies show the largest emitter of methane gas comes from the agriculture industry, not oil and gas drilling.
Republicans Will Repeal Many 'Midnight' Regulations Enacted By Obama https://t.co/dxCS7fI12p— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) December 19, 2016
So far Republicans are determined to repeal Obama’s bombardment of new rules. Many of the regulations are intentional landmines meant for Trump to step on. If he rescinds the drilling ban in the Arctic and Atlantic, he’ll likely get sued by environmentalists and expend capital fighting attacks by the Left. And Democrats plan to use the nomination process to humiliate Trump’s cabinet picks and undermine the incoming administration.
Thank you, Mr. President https://t.co/bzv4KX6Afm— David Rutz (@DavidRutz) December 27, 2016
But Obama’s legacy will likely remain as ushering in a Republican resurgence across the country. In 2008, news outlets were happily writing obituaries for the GOP after Democrats took the White House and both chambers of Congress. But as Obama’s vision of America took shape, the citizenry pushed back. Since 2008, Republicans have won 63 House seats, 11 Senate seats (excluding Independents), 13 governorships, and roughly 1,000 state-wide legislature seats.
As Obama leaves office, he leaves a beleaguered Democratic party already contemplating who will run in 2020, despite not having a vision for all Americans. Critics argue his legacy will be one of big government, a culture of dependency, and leaving his party in rancorous tatters.