The White House systematically delayed enacting a series of rules on the environment, worker safety and health care to prevent them from becoming points of contention before the 2012 election, according to documents and interviews with current and former administration officials.
Some agency officials were instructed to hold off submitting
proposals to the White House for up to a year to ensure that they would
not be issued before voters went to the polls, the current and former
The delays meant that rules were postponed or never issued. The stalled regulations included crucial elements of the Affordable Care Act, what bodies of water deserved federal protection, pollution controls for industrial boilers and limits on dangerous silica exposure in the workplace.
The Obama administration has repeatedly said that any delays until after the election
were coincidental and that such decisions were made without regard to
politics. But seven current and former administration officials told The
Washington Post that the motives behind many of the delays were clearly
political, as Obama’s top aides focused on avoiding controversy before
The number and scope of delays under Obama went
well beyond those of his predecessors, who helped shape rules but did
not have the same formalized controls, said current and former officials
who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of
the topic. (Continues)