New bill would shed light on 'midnight regulations'

U.S. Capitol (Photo by M DOGAN / Shutterstock) 

A bill introduced Tuesday would require the Government Accountability Office to give lawmakers a list of significant "midnight rules" made at the end of the Trump administration that are eligible for Congressional repeal.

It was introduced by Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), chairman of the subcommittee on government operations, Chairman of the subcommittee on economic and consumer policy Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.), and committee member Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.).

The passage of regulations during the transition period is "inherently problematic," these lawmakers wrote in a Dec. 10 letter to GAO's Comptroller General, Gene Dodaro, also signed by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jerrod Nadler (D-N.Y.).

In the letter to Dodaro, the lawmakers highlighted the potential of rules made by lame duck presidents to evade deep scrutiny in the review process if large numbers of new rules were to enter the system in a short amount of time. They also underlined the arduous process of a new administration to repeal any rules.

If passed, the Midnight Regulations Review Act would require the GAO to provide the list of major rules eligible for repeal through the Congressional Review Act to the House Committee on Oversight and Reform and the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. The Congressional Review Act allows for Congress and a new presidential administration to reverse rules made during the lame duck period.

Lawmakers also requested a list of major rules published in the Federal Register during the 116th and beginning of 117th Congress that are eligible for reversal in the letter to Dodaro.

The bill would also instruct the GAO to give another report about the specifics of some regulations made during the lame duck period within a year after the inauguration.

About the Author

Natalie Alms is a staff writer at FCW covering the federal workforce. She is a recent graduate of Wake Forest University and has written for the Salisbury (N.C.) Post. Connect with Natalie on Twitter at @AlmsNatalie.


  • Government Innovation Awards
    Government Innovation Awards -

    Congratulations to the 2021 Rising Stars

    These early-career leaders already are having an outsized impact on government IT.

  • Acquisition
    Shutterstock ID 169474442 By Maxx-Studio

    The growing importance of GWACs

    One of the government's most popular methods for buying emerging technologies and critical IT services faces significant challenges in an ever-changing marketplace

Stay Connected