On January 20, 2017, shortly after completion of the inauguration of President Trump, new White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus promulgated a “Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies,” instructing them not to send new regulations to the Office of the Federal Register (“OFR”), a necessary precursor to a regulation’s implementation. Such regulatory freezes are common after a change in executive.
The memorandum had substantive effects on three main areas of new or pending regulations. First, no regulations – except those allowed for emergency or critical situations – should be sent to the OFR until a department or agency head appointed by the president reviews and approves the regulation. Second, any regulations that have been submitted to the OFR but have yet to be published to the Federal Register should be withdrawn for review subject to the preceding requirements. Third, any new regulations that have been published to the Federal Register but have yet to be implemented or taken effect should have their effective date postponed 60 days from January 20, 2017.
The items affected by this freeze include guidance documents, any “substantive action by an agency” that will result in a final rule or regulation, and any statement that sets forth a department posture on any regulatory issue.
A copy of the Memorandum may be found here:https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/01/20/memorandum-heads-executive-departments-and-agencies.