The Washington Times - April 11, 2012, 11:56AM

In a letter already looking ahead to the end of President Obama’s term, the top two Republicans in Congress told the White House on Wednesday not to use its powers to issue last-second rules and regulations, known as “midnight regulations.”

House Speaker John A. Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell also accused Mr. Obama of “misleading” Americans in his State of the Union address when he said he had issued fewer regulations than previous presidents. The two men said while that is true, the president has issued more damaging regulations — those that would affect the economy by at least $100 million a year or more.

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In a letter to the president, the Republicans said issuing regulations after Sept. 30 — the end of the current fiscal year, and little more than a month before the elections — would go against Mr. Obama’s own pledges of transparency. The Sept. 30 date is significant because Congress is supposed to have all of its spending bills done by then, and those bills are the chief tool Capitol Hill has to fight back against such regulations.

“With the nation facing continued economic challenges, it would be ill-advised to issue a series of last-minute controversial or economically significant regulations that would distract a new Congress and potentially a new administration from focusing on jobs and the economy,” Mr. Boehner and Mr. McConnell said.

Mr. Obama’s use of his regulatory powers has been a political issue since the beginning of his term.

Republicans say Mr. Obama has shackled the economy through his authority, while the White House says all the regulations are legal and done to protect consumers, the environment and other public interests.