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Congressman Trying to get Bush's 'Midnight Rules' Reviewed

Rules of the UIGEA May Be Up for Review


White HouseA New York Congressman has introduced a bill that, if passed, would allow Congress to reverse the exiting president’s “midnight” rush to push the rules of several dozen laws into action before he leaves office.

One of those laws is the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (UIGEA), which has been hung up for years as the rules banks will have to follow were being written and revised by the federal departments.

Bush ordered the rules fast-tracked to implementation in November. It doesn't mater that authors at the Treasury Department and Federal Reserve still believe the rules, as written, are too obscure to be effective for accomplishing what the UIGEA was designed to do: End online gambling -- including poker in the U.S.

It’s usual protocol for outgoing presidents to rush rules of their pet laws through the proper agecies before they leave office. The UIGEA is just one of many dozen that Bush is pushing through.

As it stands now, the UIGEA will be enforceable in December 2009.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) introduced the first version of his Midnight Rule Act in November as a kind of warning to Bush, but had to reintroduce it after the new Congress first convened. All proposed bills and legislation that were introduced to the last Congress have to be reintroduced to the new one.

According to Nadler, the Midnight Rule Act would allow legitimate regulatory reform to proceed on schedule, while putting the power to review and overturn controversial new rules into the hands of the newly elected government. The bill also includes measures to ensure that the administration can still take actions that are necessary to protect the safety and security of the American public.

If passed (and Congress better hurry, because Bush’s last day is Tuesday), rules adopted by an agency within 90 days of the exiting president’s end of term would be reviewable by the incoming president.

The new president then has 90 days to disapprove of the rules by publishing a statement of disapproval in the Federal Register and sending a notice of disapproval to the congressional committees of jurisdiction.

Even if Nadler get this squeaked through in time, there’s no guarantee that the rules of the UIGEA will be addressed.

Tags: poker law