On January 20, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus issued a memo titled “Regulatory Freeze Pending Review.” The memo, which applies to government departments and agencies including HUD, announces a temporary “freeze” on submission of new regulations through the Office of the Federal Register (OFR). Freezes or holds on new rulemaking are customary for new presidential administrations and have occurred in the past.
Specific instructions from Friday’s memo include the following:
- New rules which have not yet been submitted to OFR must be held until reviewed and approved by a department or agency head designated on or after January 20.
- Rules which have been submitted to OFR but have not yet been published in the Federal Register must be withdrawn pending review and approval.
- Rules which have been published in the Federal Register but which have not yet taken effect must be postponed so that their effective dates are at least 60 days after January 20.
- The Director of the Office of Management and Budget may make exceptions to the freeze for urgent or emergency situations.
The freeze also applies to “guidance documents,” described as “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.”