On Jan. 4, the US House of Representatives passed the Midnight Rule Relief Act, which would allow Congress to repeal multiple executive branch rules with a single piece of legislation. It would amend the Congressional Review Act, which currently requires a separate resolution of disapproval for each rule in question.

Wayne Crews with the Competitive Enterprise Institute reported, Since Congress is only in session part-time, 60 legislative days [the limit for regulations to be subject to the Congressional Review Act] go back a while. Congress could, potentially, vote to overturn every Obama regulation finalized since around the end of May or beginning of June.They won't do that, of course, but my current, regularly updated inventory of significant rules that qualify as potential candidates since May 31 now stands at 142. . . it's a substantial list.The Midnight rules legislation should be amended to incorporate significant guidance as well. Agencies issue far more sub-regulatory guidance, memoranda, notices, bulletins, advisories, letter circulars and so on than they do regulations, and these often have regulatory effect, agency denials notwithstanding.Importantly, the CRA and its legislative history plainly covers such regulatory dark matter, but that's not something often heard about. The CRA adopted the broad definition of rule's under the Administrative Procedure Act and therefore allows resolutions of disapproval for sub-regulatory guidance as well.The Midnight Rule Relief Act faces an uncertain future in the Senate, where it is widely expected to encounter greater opposition.

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