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Obama Regulators Enjoying Second Term Flexibility

 

"We've been disappointed that [President] Obama has been a tepid regulator."

-- Randy Rabinowitz, director of regulatory policy at liberal group OMB Watch, talking to the Associated Press about a slew of new regulations from the Obama administration.

Republicans are finding some rays of sunshine this morning in new polls that show they may be starting to turn the tide of public perceptions on the fight over the “fiscal cliff.”

A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll says that 56 percent of Americans would blame both parties equally if the automatic tax increases and spending cuts were to kick in at the start of next year. That argues against the convention wisdom that holds that Republicans would be overwhelming blamed if the budget standoff isn’t resolved.

And a new FOX News poll says that 89 percent of registered voters believe President Obama should agree to “major” spending cuts if Republicans agree to raise taxes. While Democrats and Republicans may disagree what constitutes “major,” it’s a sign that voters are looking for the president to give some ground in response to the Republicans opening offer of an $800 billion tax increase.

But as the GOP grinds out the struggle on taxes and spending in a bid to keep a loss from turning into a rout, Team Obama is looking past the current standoff and sprinting into a second term.

The Associated Press today reports on the Obama administration’s post-election regulatory bonanza and the ensuing panic in the business community.

A report by the National Association of Manufacturers says that just a half-dozen of the new EPA rules will cost industry $138 billion in compliance costs and a-half-trillion in new construction.

While he was wooing voters in pursuit of a second term, the president held off a mountain of controversial new regulations. From a crackdown on coal to workplace safety mandates to new banking and financial regulations, the White House held back a slew of new rules that might have upset some swing-state voters or slowed the economy.

But with a second term in the bag, the administration is forging ahead.

A report by the National Association of Manufacturers says that just a half-dozen of the new EPA rules will cost industry $138 billion in compliance costs and a-half-trillion in new construction.

Pro-regulatory groups argue that the new rules aren’t a flood because they’re not really new, just restrictions that were created and then delayed. But whether the rules are new or newly implemented, the effect is the same for the industries in the crosshairs.

While the president has Republicans pinned down on a lame-duck fight over tax rates, his administration is galloping ahead into a second term surge of regulations. And while the GOP might eventually find enough Senate Democrats to block some of the most expensive ones, that would take time and it isn’t going to occur while Obama and the House Speaker are locked in a seemingly endless struggle over taxes.

Obama and his regulators know that it is easier to block the implementation of a new rule than to repeal one already in effect, hence the race to put the restrictions in place.

And Now, A Word From Charles

“Let me start by saying asking us every day for daily update on the cliff is like covering every day a tortoise 10k. You know, tortoise "A" has advanced a neck length and the other is not a full shell.”


-- Charles Krauthammer on “Special Report with Bret Baier.”  


Chris Stirewalt is digital politics editor for Fox News, and his POWER PLAY column appears Monday-Friday on FoxNews.com. Catch Chris Live online daily at 11:30amET  at  http:live.foxnews.com.

Chris Stirewalt joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in July of 2010 and serves as digital politics editor based in Washington, D.C.  Additionally, he authors the daily "Fox News First” political news note and hosts “Power Play,” a feature video series, on FoxNews.com. Stirewalt makes frequent appearances on the network, including "The Kelly File," "Special Report with Bret Baier," and "Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace.”  He also provides expert political analysis for Fox News coverage of state, congressional and presidential elections.