House members led by Oversight and Reform Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., and Government Operations Subcommittee Chairman Gerry Connolly, D-Va., introduced legislation on Dec. 15 that will monitor any “midnight” regulations put into place in the waning days of the Trump administration.

The House members previewed the bill last week, saying that it will require the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to keep track of regulations that the current administration may create during the “lame-duck” period leading up to the inauguration of President-elect Biden next month.

GAO’s list of regulations enacted during that period will then allow Congress to evaluate “whether they are based on evidence and research, or whether they should be considered for amending or elimination,” the bill’s sponsors said.

“Presidential transitions demand rigorous oversight, and midnight rulemaking is no exception,” said the sponsors, who also include Economic and Consumer Policy Subcommittee Chairman Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., and Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif. Midnight regulations, the legislators said in a release, “are subject to little accountability and can lead to harmful, unvetted policies.”

“If a midnight rule is finalized, a new administration is forced to work through the time-consuming rulemaking process to change or repeal the rule, potentially diverting critical resources at a substantial cost,” they said.

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