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White House Calls for Review of Proposed or Recently Finalized Regulations

Beveridge & Diamond, P.C., January 30, 2009

On January 20, 2009, the White House issued a memorandum to the heads of all executive departments and agencies, calling for the review of all proposed or final regulations that either have not been published in the Federal Register or have been published but have not yet taken effect.  This request was one of the first steps in implementing President Obama’s plan for managing the Federal regulatory process.  The White House stressed, however, that this request did not apply to any regulations that affect critical health, safety, environmental, financial, or national security matters, or are subject to statutory or judicial deadlines.  For a printable PDF of this memorandum, please click here

On January 21, 2009, the Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) clarified the previous memorandum’s required treatment of regulations that have been published in the Federal Register but not yet taken effect.  This memorandum instructed department and agency heads to “consider” postponing for a period of 60 days -- not indefinitely -- the effective dates of those regulations that raise “significant concerns involving law or policy.”  The second memorandum further instructed that, if a department or agency head chooses to extend an effective date, he or she should “promptly” provide a 30-day period for public commenting about that extension and the rule in question, and then make a “fair evaluation.”  For a printable PDF of this memorandum, please click here

In addition to these memoranda, the Obama Administration has performed an apparently wholesale withdrawal of all non-final regulatory initiatives undergoing review by the OMB, pursuant to Executive Order 12866 (September 30, 1993).  For a detailed list of all initiatives of the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) that were under review by, and for the most part withdrawn from, the OMB in the last week, as well as those initiatives of other departments and agencies, please click here and insert the name of the department or agency of interest in the box labeled “Regulatory Review Completed in Last 30 Days.”

These actions by the Obama Administration seem designed to ensure that no regulatory initiative originating in the last administration is proposed or finalized prior to review by the new administration’s incoming appointees.  For further information on these developments please call or e-mail Richard Davis in our Washington, D.C. office at (202) 789-6025 or rdavis@bdlaw.com.  This alert was prepared with the assistance of Heidi Price.

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