ALERT: Freeze on Regulations

On January 20, 2017, moments after President Trump was sworn in, his Chief of Staff, Reince Priebus, issued a Memorandum to the heads of all executive departments and agencies. It stated that the President had asked him “to communicate to each of you his plan for managing the Federal regulatory process at the outset of his Administration.”

In short, there is an immediate halt to regulations being sent to the Federal Register for publication. The Memorandum commands that no regulation be sent to the Federal Register “until a department or agency head appointed or designated by the President after noon on January 20, 2017, reviews and approves the regulation.”  In other words, a Trump appointee must approve the regulation prior to its submittal to the Federal Register.

For regulations already sent to the Federal Register that have not been published, the agency must “immediately withdraw them from the OFR for review and approval” by a Trump appointee. For regulations already sent to the Federal Register that have been published, the agency must postpone their effective date for 60 days from January 20, 2017 “for the purpose of reviewing questions of fact, law, and policy they raise.”  Additional delays may be warranted based on the review.

There is an exception for “emergency situations or other urgent circumstances relating to health, safety, financial, or national security matters,” as determined by the OMB Director. Further, “any regulations subject to statutory or judicial deadlines” must be identified to the OMB Director as soon as possible.

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