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White House to Ease Many Rules Aimed at Protecting Consumers

Media outlets and blogs have been reporting for the past two weeks that the White House is working to enact a wide array of federal regulations, which would strip many government rules that protect consumers and the environment, before President Bush leaves office in January.

90 new regulations are in the works, and at least nine of them are considered "economically significant" because they impose costs or promote societal benefits that exceed $100 million annually, according to the Washington Post.

Unfortunately, a lot Bush's regulatory proposals reflect new interpretations of language in federal laws. Other proposals reflect new executive branch decisions in areas where Congress left the president with the ability to "flex" his power and excercise his discretion at will, since Congress is now out of session and focusing on the elections.

White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten's memo, that was written May 9, 2008, stresses that everyone (everyone that the memo was addressed to) needs to "sprint to the finish" in order for regulations to be finalized before a set deadline of November 1, 2008.

Below is a chart that displays five proposed regulations, the proposal date, length of comment period (most of the regulations have a comment period around 30 days), and the amount of days the Office of Management and Budget needs to review the regulation before it takes legal effect.

The Bush White House is trying its best to get everything done before the next administration takes office on January 20, 2009, when the next president would be able to void any proposed regulation that is still under review.

Rule Description Proposal Date Length of Comment Period Days under OMB review
Department of Health and Human Services rule which could reduce women's access to federally funded reproductive health services.
Find out more from Reg•Watch,
OMB Watch's regulatory policy blog
Proposed rule text
Aug. 26 30 days Less than 1 day
Department of Labor rule which would change the way occupational health agencies calculate estimates for on-the-job risks.
Find out more from Reg•Watch
Proposed rule text
Aug. 29 31 days 49 days
Mine Safety and Health Administration rule which would require drug testing for miners.
Find out more from Reg•Watch
Proposed rule text
Sept. 8 30 days 84 days
Department of Interior rule which would change the way government agencies comply with the Endangered Species Act.
Find out more from Reg•Watch
Proposed rule text
Aug. 15 31 days 3 days
Department of Justice rule which would allow local law enforcement to engage in domestic spying without good cause.
Find out more from OMB Watch
Proposed rule text
July 31 33 days 70 days
Categories: Consumer protection
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