White House Presses Pause on Pending Regulations

By Allie Bidwell, Communications Staff

In a memorandum circulated among the leaders of executive departments and agencies shortly after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, Reince Priebus – Trump’s chief of staff – announced there will be a freeze on all pending federal regulations, which could impact some of the Obama administration’s final education regulations.

The memo states that no regulation should be sent to the Office of the Federal Register until a “department or agency head appointed or designated by the President” after his inauguration has the chance to review and approve it. Regulations that have already been sent to the office, but not published in the Federal Register should be immediately withdrawn for review and approval, according to the memo, while regulations that have been published but have not taken effect should be delayed for 60 days, “for the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,” the memo said. “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 memo also states that departments and agencies should notify the director or acting director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) if they believe the regulation should be excluded because it pertains to an emergency situation or urgent circumstance related to health, safety, financial, or national security matters.

After a review, regulations that “raise no substantial questions of law or policy” will not require further action, while those the new administration deems questionable will require consultation with the OMB director.

The Department of Education (ED) under former President Barack Obama issued several regulations that had been published in the Federal Register, but that have not taken effect, such as rules on  borrower defense (excluding the procedural rules released January 19, which took effect immediately), state authorization of distance education, and teacher preparation. ED’s gainful employment regulations, however, took effect in July and do not fall within this regulatory freeze. Repealing or revising those regulations would require action from Congress.

 

Publication Date: 1/24/2017


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