The Bush Administration's Midnight Regulations

It wasn't supposed to be this way. In May, Josh Bolten, then-head of the Office of Management and Budget, which oversees regulatory approval, issued a memo barring new proposals after June. It also required that all new regulations be completed by Nov. 1.

That hasn't been the case. Many proposed regulations have yet to be finalized and new ones have already come out since the June deadline.

A spokesperson for OMB said in an email response that the Bolten memo "wasn't intended to wholesale shut down work on important regulatory matters after November 1st, but to emphasize due diligence."

She added: "Ensuring the integrity of the process is important to the Administration."

If the regulations go through, there may be little anyone can do to change them in the short term, experts say. A new administration could get Congress to overturn, but that has rarely succeeded and can be vetoed by the president. A new administration could also restart a new regulatory process to change back the rules, but that is a lengthy process. Or it could ask the court to stop regulations, but historically they have limited jurisdiction to intervene.

Either way, says de Rugy, "whether you think regulations are good or bad, one of the things we should all agree upon is that the process they have to go through is open and that it is rigorous and protects tax payers from bad regulations."

But, she adds, the current process "is everything but transparent."

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