Regulatory Freeze for Review of Pending Rules

Ryan Meade
Director of Regulatory Compliance Studies at Loyola University Chicago School of Law


As has been the case for every new Administration since 1981, the President has issued a freeze of final regulations that have not gone into effect.  The instruction usually comes through the Chief of Staff and is referred to by that person’s name.  Hence, we have the Card Memo (2001) and the Emanuel Memo (2009).  We now have the Priebus Memo.  Here is one of the key sections (Paragraph 3), quite similar in language to past memos:

“With respect to regulations that have been published in the [Federal Register] but have not taken effect, as permitted by applicable law, temporarily postpone their effective date for 60 days from the date of this memorandum, subject to the exceptions described in paragraph 1, for the purpose of reviewing questions of fact, law, and policy they raise. Where appropriate and as permitted by applicable law, you should 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, you should consider potentially proposing further notice-and-comment rulemaking.”

The note referencing exceptions are “emergency situations or other urgent circumstances relating to health, safety, financial, or national security matters….” (Paragraph 1).

This blog will keep a watch on the regulatory reviews now underway and provide commentary as the process moves forward.