Most of us know that Congress won’t pass much meaningful legislation between now and election day. But regulatory action in the agencies is a very different story.
Outgoing presidents like to initiate regulations – sometimes tens of thousands of pages – as a way to further their agenda. These include last-minute “midnight regulations,” offered between the November election and the inauguration, which can give their successor a headache. One study showed that the federal register swells an average of 17 percent during this time. As The New York Times once put it, “Adams did it to Jefferson. Teddy Roosevelt did it to Taft. Carter did it to Reagan. Bush I did it to Clinton. And Clinton really did it to Bush II.”
Obama will do it, too. That means advocacy professionals may need to track dozens of regulatory actions before an equal number of agencies, and stand ready to offer comments in support or opposition.
So, what should you be watching? That depends on your organization’s interests. But here are some of the top regulatory actions in major sectors, as identified by CQ reporters.