With the hotly contested election behind us, it’s now officially midnight in Washington. The “midnight period”is the time between Election Day and Inauguration Day, which has historically seen a surge in last-minute regulation by the outgoing administration. The surge is particularly pronounced when the party controlling the White House is set to change—as with this election.
To combat the surge, the House Judiciary Committee recently approved the “Midnight Rules Relief Act,” which would make it easier for Congress to disapprove recently finalized regulations. While useful, the bill treats just one symptom of a much larger problem. A better solution would be to enact comprehensive regulatory reforms that would allow agencies to adopt only those regulations that solve real problems at a reasonable cost.
Midnight regulations are an especially egregious example of poorly thought-out regulations. Like zombies, they live on long after the demise of the administration that created them. Once finalized, regulations are often difficult to modify or repeal. Agencies may also use the midnight period to push through controversial rules because they have little to fear from congressional scrutiny and oversight.
Read the rest by Sherzod Abdukadirov and Jerry Ellig at The Hill.