President-elect Joe Biden will issue an executive order halting “midnight regulations” on day one of his presidency, incoming White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Wednesday.
“We’re announcing today that, like other incoming administrations have done before, the Biden-Harris White House will issue a memo to take effect on the afternoon Eastern Time on January 20 that will halt or delay midnight regulations, actions taken by the Trump administration that will not have taken effect by Inauguration Day,” Psaki told reporters.
Midnight regulations are rules that outgoing administrations rush through during the lame-duck period.
Psaki cited a pending Department of Labor rule that she says would make it easier for businesses to classify their workers as independent contractors instead of salaried employees with benefits.
Psaki noted that “issuing a regulatory freeze is standard practice for an incoming administration.”
From Election Day to Inauguration Day in 2016, the Obama administration released 145 new regulations, many of which were related to energy and the environment, according to the conservative American Action Forum.
Then on President Trump’s Inauguration Day, Jan. 20, 2017, Trump issued an executive order directing all federal agencies to pause any pending regulations until his new cabinet could examine and sign off on them.
Congress is also wary of the Trump administration’s midnight regulations. A group of Democratic Congressmen introduced the Midnight Regulations Review Act earlier this month, which would require the U.S. Government Accountability Office to provide Congress with information on the final regulations that the Trump administration ushers through.
The freeze on midnight regulations is just one of the many actions Biden has planned for his first day in office. The president-elect has also promised he will rejoin the Paris climate agreement and rejoin the World Health Organization immediately.