New administration halts ongoing rulemakings

Memo directs agency heads to withdraw rules that have not yet taken effect

Posted January 24, 2017

On Friday, January 20, President Trump’s Chief of Staff, Reince Priebus, sent a memorandum to the heads of executive department and federal agencies halting the rulemaking process. The memo asks, on behalf of the President, that the agencies take the following steps:

  1. Send no regulation to the Office of the Federal Register (OFR) until the new administration has had a chance to review it.
  2. For regulations that have been sent to the OFR, but have not been published in the Federal Register, immediately withdraw them from the OFR for review and approval by the new administration.
  3. For regulations that have been published in the Federal Register, but have not yet taken effect, temporarily postpone their effective date for 60 days, to allow the new administration to review questions of fact, law, and policy. Where appropriate and as permitted by law, agency heads should consider proposing for notice and comment a rule to delay the effective date for regulations beyond the 60-day period. In cases where the effective date has been delayed in order to review questions of fact, law, or policy, agency heads should consider proposing further notice-and-comment rulemaking. Following the delay in the effective date:
    • For regulations that raise no substantial questions of law or policy, no further action needs to be taken; and
    • For those regulations that do raise substantial questions of law or policy, agencies should notify the White House and take further appropriate action.

The memo directs the agency heads to notify the White House of any rules they consider critical to the nation’s wellbeing and continue to comply with any applicable Executive Orders concerning regulatory management.

One major OSHA rulemaking affected by this request is the Occupational Exposure to Beryllium final rule. Published in the Federal Register on January 9, 2017, the rule was not scheduled to take effect until March 10, 2017.


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