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Priebus’ January 20 Memorandum on Regulatory Freeze Pending Review

A memorandum from the President’s Chief of Staff, dated Friday, January 20, but released this afternoon via the Federal Register, directs all departmental and agency heads to forestall regulatory actions.  Previous administrations, including the the incoming Obama Administration, have issued such directives.  It instructs agencies to: 

  1. Delay sending any new material to the Federal Register for publication until it can be reviewed by “a department or agency head appointed or designated by the President after noon on January 20, 2017”;
  2. Withdraw any regulations, including proposed rules, final rules, and guidance documents, which have been sent to the Federal Register, but have not yet been published, so that they may be reviewed by the new Administration. This process has apparently already begun; and 
  3. Delay until March 21, 2017, the implementation of any final rules or guidance documents that have been published, but have not yet become effective, and consider proposing to delay implementation beyond that date. Those regulations are to be reviewed by Trump-appointed or -designated agency heads in consultation with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

The memorandum does not apply to regulations that are subject to statutory or judicial deadlines.  The OMB Director may also exempt regulations from these limitations if they are for emergency situations, or “other urgent circumstances relating to health, safety, financial, or national security matters.”

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