On January 20, 2017, the President’s Chief of Staff, on behalf of the President issued the Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies; regulatory Freeze Pending Review. The memorandum (with certain exceptions for emergency situations or other urgent circumstances relating to health, safety, financial, or national security matters, or as otherwise authorized by Director or Acting Director of the Office of Management and Budget) asks heads of executive departments and agencies (or their designees) to:

  • Not send any regulation to the Office of the Federal Register (OFR) until a department or agency head appointed or designated by the President after noon on January 20, 2017, reviews and approves the regulation.
  • Withdraw any regulations that have been sent to OFR but not yet published until reviewed as above.
  • With respect to regulations that have been published in the OFR but have not taken effect, as permitted by applicable law, temporarily postpone their effective date for 60 days from the date of the memorandum for the purpose of reviewing questions of fact, law, and policy they raise. Where appropriate and as permitted by applicable law, consider proposing for notice and comment a rule to delay the effective date for regulations beyond that 60-day period. In cases where the effective date has been delayed in order to review questions of fact, law, or policy, consider potentially proposing further notice-and-comment rulemaking.
  • Exclude from the actions requested above any regulations subject to statutory or judicial deadlines and identify such exclusions to the OMB Director as soon as possible.
  • Notify the OMB Director promptly of any regulations that, should be excluded from the directives because those regulations affect critical health, safety, financial, or national security matters, or for some other reason. The OMB Director will review any such notifications and determine whether such exclusion is appropriate under the circumstances.
  • 6. Continue in all circumstances to comply with any applicable Executive Orders concerning regulatory management.

The requirements of the memorandum apply to “any substantive action by an agency (normally published in the Federal Register) that promulgates or is expected to lead to the promulgation of a final rule or regulation, including notices of inquiry, advance notices of proposed rulemaking, and notices of proposed rulemaking,” and also covers any agency statement of general applicability and future effect “that sets forth a policy on a statutory, regulatory, or technical issue or an interpretation of a statutory or regulatory issue.”