Bush Aides Look to Undo Final Clinton Regulations
While the Bush administration is for preparing its transition to power, the president-elect's aides are reviewing all of the Clinton administration's "11th hour" initiatives, "plotting" to "wipe the Clinton presidency off the Federal Register," the Wall Street Journal reports. The Clinton initiatives include the "870 pages" of "so-called" patients' rights regulations for Medicaid managed care beneficiaries announced yesterday and the recently released ergonomic standards, which require businesses to protect workers from repetitive stress injuries. Bush would have "ample precedent" if he attempts to block any of Clinton's regulations, as both Clinton and former president Ronald Reagan issued "moratoriums" on "last minute regulations" when they took office. However, any Bush moratorium on new regulations would only block rules that have not yet published in the Federal Register. Once the regulations are published, the new administration would have to undergo a "complicated rollback process" to block the rules, which could take years. Since the ergonomics rules are already published, the Bush team, its congressional supporters and businesses are "explor[ing] all options" to stop the rules' implementation. Concerned about "last-minute" privacy regulations, Karen Ignagni, president of the American Association of Health Plans, said that her organization is working on Capitol Hill and with the incoming administration to develop a plan to "deal with late Clinton administration rules." She added, "We want to be sure we are not missing any opportunity in the executive or the legislative branch." Some GOP lawmakers are considering using the Congressional Review Act, which allows Congress to overturn regulations instead of the president. However, the Journal reports that with the evenly divided Senate and a slim GOP majority in the House, such action "may be difficult" (Cummings/Hamburger, Wall Street Journal, 1/19).