12:06 GMT18 January 2021
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    The term "midnight regulations" refers to the practice whereby an outgoing US administration makes last-minute moves to propel its political agenda before an incoming administration takes over.

    US President-elect Joe Biden's press secretary-to-be, Jen Psaki, said Wednesday that on January 20, Biden will issue a memorandum blocking outgoing US President Donald Trump from issuing so-called "midnight regulations" on Inauguration Day.

    Psaki said that Biden would issue the directive in line with "standard practice" for incoming administrations.

    Since the departure of former US President Jimmy Carter from the White House in January 1981, incoming presidents have issued such memoranda in order to prevent last-minute regulatory changes by outgoing administrations seeking to round out their political agendas. In addition, in 1996, Congress acquired its own ability to reverse decisions made by the outgoing president between Election Day an Inauguration Day, if the new president also disapproves of them.

    According to the Congressional Research Service, the name comes from the midnight deadline for would-be princess Cinderella, before she transformed back into a commoner in the popular fairy tale.

    Earlier this month, CNN reported a record-breaking number of rule changes by the Trump administration in 2020, with 111 made before Election Day and eight more finalized by December 6, with another 15 pending review. ProPublica also reported that the Trump administration has curbed review times in a bid to push through as many new changes as possible before Biden takes office next month.

    Some of those include expanding methods of federal execution to include electrocution and death by firing squad, while others span from changes to Clean Air Act enforcement to altering how Medicare reimburses physicians and allowing homeless shelters to discriminate against homeless trans people.

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    Tags:
    memo, new rules, Inauguration Day, Donald Trump, Joe Biden
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