Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden will issue an executive order on the day he takes office, if he wins the presidency, that would halt regulations President Donald Trump issued in the final weeks of his first term.
“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 Jan. 20 that will halt or delay midnight regulations, actions taken by the Trump administration that will not have taken effect by Inauguration Day,” Jen Psaki, Biden’s pick for White House press secretary, told reporters on Wednesday during a virtual press conference.
Psaki gave as an example that the Department of Labor is expected to publish a final rule before Jan. 20 that deals with the classification of independent contractors.
Biden’s memo “would potentially freeze this rule and not allow it to be implemented,” she said.
“Issuing a regulatory freeze is standard practice for an incoming administration, but this freeze will apply not only to regulations, but also guidance documents, documents that can have enormous consequences on the lives of American people.”
The White House didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Biden has declared victory in the 2020 election. President Donald Trump and other Republicans are contesting election results in key battleground states, and are planning to object to electoral votes during the Jan. 6, 2021, joint session of Congress.
According to the conservative American Action Forum, the Obama administration between Election Day in 2016 and Jan. 5, 2017, released 145 regulations. Trump after he was sworn into office issued a memo directing federal agencies to stop processing regulations until a department or agency head appointed or designated by the president reviewed and approved it.
Members of Congress have also expressed concern about Trump issuing regulations in the final days of his first term.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), chairwoman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, and other lawmakers earlier this month introduced the Midnight Regulations Review Act, which would require, among other things, the Government Accountability Office to report to Congress a list of the major rules promulgated during the end of a presidential administration that are subject to repeal by Congress through the Congressional Review Act.
“The recent actions of the Trump administration have shown us firsthand how outgoing administrations can take advantage of midnight rulemaking for partisan, political gain,” Maloney said in a newsletter to constituents. “Presidential transitions demand rigorous oversight, and midnight rulemaking is no exception.”