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REGWRITER ALERT: White House Chief of Staff issues Regulatory Freeze

January 25, 2017

REGWRITER ALERT: White House Chief of Staff issues Regulatory Freeze Pending Review Memorandum

If you attended any TRG courses in 2016, you would have heard that on January 20, 2017, the new administration would likely issue a memorandum freezing all regulatory activities until the new administration could conduct a full review. This is typical of incoming administrations, going back to Ronald Reagan, particularly when there has been a change in political party. On January 20, 2017, the Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff, Reince Priebus, issued the memorandum, Regulatory Freeze Pending Review.

The memorandum:

  • Directs that agencies send no regulation to the Office of the Federal Register (OFR) after noon on January 20, 2017, until a Presidential appointee reviews and approves it.

  • Provides for exceptions at the discretion of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) allowing for emergency situations or other urgent circumstances.

  • Requires withdrawal of all regulations sent to OFR but not yet published.

  • Requires agencies postpone the effective date of any published regulations that have not yet taken effect for at least 60 days from January 20, 2017, for the purpose of reviewing questions of fact, law, or policy.

  • Recommends for certain regulations that the agencies also consider further delays of the effective dates and perhaps reissue regulations as proposed rules for additional notice and comment.

  • Requires agencies to notify OMB to discuss regulations with substantial questions of law or policy and regulations that should be excluded from some of the memorandum's mandates.

The direction of this memorandum is similar to that of Andrew H. Card issued on January 20, 2001, and Rahm Emanuel issued on January 20, 2009. To help you put the most recent memorandum in context we have posted all three documents on our website and we have created comparison documents so you can see changes made between each document. You can look at the documents on our website Regulatory Reading Room ( or click on the links below:

Compare and contrast the changes in this traditional Presidential Transition memorandum for the past 3 transitions:

We hope you find this RegulationWriter Alert helpful. If you have any suggestions, questions or comments please do not hesitate to contact us.