OMB Gives Agencies Guidance on Regulatory Freeze

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By Cheryl Bolen

A memorandum sent to all executive branch departments and agencies provides guidance on the regulatory freeze ordered the first day President Donald Trump took office, saying the effective date of regulations already sent to the Federal Register should be postponed for 60 days.

The memorandum, signed by Mark Sandy, acting director of the Office of Management and Budget, was issued Jan. 24. It implements the memorandum signed Jan. 20 by White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus.

“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,” it said.

Wait for Review

In addition, subject to any exceptions, the memo directs agencies to send no further regulations to the Office of the Federal Register until an agency head appointed or designated by the president reviews and approves them.

The memo requests that agencies withdraw any regulations currently under review at the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), the office within OMB that reviews all significant regulations.

There are two exceptions to the regulatory freeze, it said. The first is any regulation subject to statutory or judicial deadline. The second is any regulation addressing emergency situations or other urgent circumstances relating to health, safety, financial or national security matters, or otherwise, it said.

The memo said the OMB would promptly review the justification for rules falling under these exemptions and provide further guidance.

To contact the reporter on this story: Cheryl Bolen in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Paul Hendrie at

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