Bush making sure his new rules stick

President George W. Bush signing a document at his desk in the Oval Office

TEXT OF STORY

Kai Ryssdal:
The federal government is about nothing if it's not about rules.
And as it prepares to leave office, the Bush administration's working to make sure the rules it wants stay on the books.
Regulations for everything from endangered species to the Family Medical Leave Act.
Marketplace's Steve Henn reports.


Steve Henn:
Democratic Senator Chris Dodd wrote the Family Medical Leave Act. He's worried Bush's new regulations will make it harder for working Americans to take time off to care for loved ones.

Chris Dodd: This administration has always been hostile to family medical leave. What bothers me here is you have about 60 days to go for this administration and they are obviously jamming this stuff.

Tomorrow, the White House will open up 2 million acres of public land for oil shale exploration. It's finalizing a rule that allows coal mines to strip off mountain tops and dump the waste in streams.
Last week it cemented a rule that lets truckers stay on the road -- without a break -- for 11 hours a day.

And it's pushing to reclassify some hazardous waste so it can be burned as fuel.

Joan Claybrook: Wow. There are a lot of bad ones.

Joan Claybrook is president of Public Citizen.

Claybrook: There will be a lot of harm to the public, there is just no question about it.

Bush isn't the only president to pull this trick right before leaving office. President Clinton set the gold standard -- issuing 27,000 pages of rules in his final months.
But Bush was able to roll some of those rules back because they hadn't been in force more than 60 days. Now his team's trying to make sure his rules stick.

Matt Madia: Essentially what they are doing is trying to prevent the Obama administration from doing to them what they did to President Clinton.

Matt Madia is a regulatory watchdog at OMB watch.

Madia: They are going to try to handcuff the Obama administration.

Check your calendars. It's 64 days before inauguration and Madia says we can expect a flood of new rules before the week is out.

In Washington, I'm Steve Henn for Marketplace.

About the author

Steve Henn was Marketplace’s technology and innovation reporter for the entire portfolio of Marketplace programs until December 2011.

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