New legislation being prepared by House leaders will aim to track the promulgation of any “midnight” regulations by the outgoing Trump administration with an eye to amending or eliminating any eleventh-hour rules that are not based on “evidence and research.”

The proposed legislation has the backing of House Oversight and Reform Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., Government Operations Subcommittee Chairman Gerry Connolly, D-Va., Economic and Consumer Policy Subcommittee Chairman Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., and Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif.

The bill, its sponsors said, will task the Government Accountability Office (GAO) with creating a list of regulations that the Trump administration may create during the “lame-duck” period that runs through Jan. 20, 2021. That list, they said, “will allow Congress and the incoming administration to review whether they are based on evidence and research or whether they should be considered for amending or elimination.”

Rep. Connolly announced the planned bill at a Government Operations Subcommittee hearing today focused on possible harms that can result from a shortened presidential transition period, and particularly during the “lame duck” period that stretches from Election Day to Inauguration Day.

“Congress must take stock immediately of harmful regulatory actions rushed by outgoing administrations in order to exercise its authority to repeal regulations pursuant to the Congressional Review Act,” Rep. Connolly said at today’s hearing. “The bill also builds on the bipartisan work of my Senate colleagues Ron Johnson and Tom Carper, requesting GAO produce a report a year after the inauguration to examine, more in-depth, the impact of specific midnight regulations.”

“The nation needs the next administration to be a success,” Rep. Connolly said. “We need our people to stay safe and healthy during what promises to be the deadliest stretch of the pandemic yet. We need vaccine production and distribution to be comprehensive and efficient. We need to prevent small businesses from collapsing and keep renters and homeowners with roofs over their heads. We need to heal the acrimony that divides the nation. To make that possible, we need the outgoing administration not to burn the building down on its way out.”

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John Curran
John Curran
John Curran is MeriTalk's Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.