Regulatory activity tends to surge in the final year of a presidential administration. Significant legislation from Congress is unlikely, and regulations are one of the few tools available for outgoing executive branch officials wanting to leave a legacy. The last three months in particular have historically seen a flurry of “midnight regulation” before a new president is sworn in. In an effort to get ahead of that rush, Howard Shelanski, Administrator of the Office of Information & Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), recently sent a memo to executive agencies asking them to adhere to their regulatory agendas. As past experience shows, however, controlling midnight regulations can be an uphill battle.

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