GOP takeover of House would move White House focus to regulation

A Republican takeover of the House will make Capitol Hill a much less relevant place for President Obama, and is likely to turn the administration’s focus toward working through federal agencies and regulation — which it can do unilaterally — rather than trying to pass new legislation.

Opponents of the Obama administration’s agenda said they are shifting their attention away from the legislative arena and toward the regulatory field of battle.

“Right now we see the next two years, the battles moving from Capitol Hill probably to the regulatory agencies,” said Randel K. Johnson, senior vice president at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

In one sense, Obama and congressional Democrats don’t need to pass any more major pieces of legislation. Having passed a massive overhaul of the health care system and financial regulation, they will have plenty to do – and plenty they will be able to do – simply in writing regulations and rules to implement those laws.

The Environmental Protection Agency is also planning to regulate carbon emissions, in the absence of a bill written by Congress to do so. That figures to be a third major avenue of action for the Obama administration no matter who controls Congress.

And the fourth avenue is labor law, where the Obama administration shares many of the same goals as organized labor, which is also one of its biggest sources of political and financial support.

“With the slowing of the labor/employment agenda on Capitol Hill, the administration is utilizing the regulatory agencies to implement its agenda,” read a U.S. Chamber report released this past week.

Vin Weber, an influential Republican lobbyist, said Republicans on Capitol Hill are gearing up for a major confrontation with the administration over its regulatory approach.

“They could attempt to be conciliatory and try move to the middle … or you can believe that they really believe they are a transformational presidency and they’re just going to carry on through a regulatory apparatus or regulatory approach what they’ve done the last two years with a legislative approach,” Weber said in an interview.

“Most Republicans believe that’s what they’ll do, that they’ll try to be as aggressive in transforming policy through the regulatory approach as they were through the legislative approach,” Weber said. “So Republicans get all this. But they’re not gonna just sit back and watch and do nothing about it. They’ll fight back.”

The Chamber’s report included a chart showing numerous appointees with “long standing ties to organized labor” in senior positions at the Department of Labor, which they said raises questions about whether the agency will be fair toward employers.

A Department of Labor spokeswoman declined to comment. But the president’s strong alliance with organized labor was on display Monday as he flew to Milwaukee, Wisconsin to speak to several thousand union workers at the annual “Laborfest” celebration.

“A strong economy needs a strong labor movement,” said Obama, referring to the rally’s organizers in the AFL-CIO as his “brothers and sisters.”

The Chamber report also focused on an area they call “sub-regulatory” initiatives, which they said are policies carried out by agencies without public vetting or congressional approval.

“Often, these campaigns begin as initiatives to ‘educate’ workers about their rights or employers about their duties under existing law, but result in greater enforcement, increased litigation and higher penalties against employers,” the report said. “Of course, regardless of the merits of the underlying challenge, employers must spend thousands of dollars in defending themselves.”

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  • truebearing

    Get ready to see the deranged rules of Cass Sunstein, Obama’s Regulation Czar. This is someone so radical in his environmental delusions that he wants to give animals the right to sue people. He doesn’t seem to think they should be able to sue each other however.

    Sunstein wants to end all hunting. he opposes the 2nd Amendment, and is antagonistic to the Ist Amendment. I guess that means he is opposed to rights for humans, but animals should have rights. He wants a kind of fairness doctrine for the internet, which would mean that we wouldn’t be commentijng for long, if he gets his way.

    Sunstein will be the 2nd most powerful person in this country after the Demoncrats get their asses kicked in November, and he will add tremendously to the damage done by Obama’s evil administration.

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  • libertyatstake

    “…you can believe that they really believe they are a transformational presidency and they’re just going to carry on through a regulatory apparatus…”

    Believe It.

    “Because the Only Good Progressive is a Failed Progressive”

    • libertyatstake

      Which, of course, is why Rep. (Chairman) Issa will be a most important player in the next movement of this drama.

      “Because the Only Good Progressive is a Failed Progressive”

  • sunnyr

    I can see it is going to be a battle ROYAL for the next two years. We have to cut this Marxist Moonbat off at every turn. Defund his destructive Bills and start the abolishment of the parasitic, corrupt UNIONS this idiot loves so well. They have no place in government and the bill that JFK signed to allow these maggots to infiltrate our govennment should be overturned and made null and void. Watch this corrupt administration every minute. They are evil!!

  • baal

    Simply defund those agencies.

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  • johno413

    And all out budget war like some comments suggest will only guarantee re-election for the president. Once the power shifts in Congress the president always looks more vulnerable to the public. And this administration’s political team has proven since day one they will take advantage of every opportunity. Already he is “treated like a dog,” in his own words.

    It will take finesse from the Congress to both prevent some key destructive actions (regulations) as well as move the country towards recovery. Should they get power, there will be plenty of room for them to fail and in turn increase the popularity of Obama. They must focus on the details and not just starve the funds. They need to continue to win the public relations battle in the eye of the voter’s as well. So, the long spoken but almost never acted upon mantra of transparency could become one tool of choice.