As is normal at the start of a new administration, President
Biden’s Chief of Staff announced
yesterday
that the OMB would stop actions on all current rulemakings until
they were approved by agency heads appointed by the new President. At the same
time, the President appointed acting leadership for 34 agencies, including (of
interest in this blog) David Pekoske for DHS and Lana Hurdle for DOT.
Additionally, final rules that have been published, but have not yet gone into
effect, would have the effective date extended to 60-days from yesterday to
allow for further review.

It appears that OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory
Affairs (OIRA) had unofficially stopped approving rulemakings as of Monday.
Through last Friday, OIRA had been approving rulemakings at the rate of five to
ten per workday for the last two months. No rulemakings have been approved this
week.

OMB is authorized to exempt rulemakings from this review
process “for emergency situations or other urgent circumstances relating to
health, safety, environmental, financial, or national security matters” {para 1}.
Also exempted are rules that are “subject to statutory or judicial deadlines” {para
4}.

We can expect the Biden Administration to start the process
of withdrawing rulemakings from OMB’s review with which it does not agree. That
process started yesterday with three rulemakings from the State Department and
one from the Department of Labor. Again, this is a typical and routine
practice. The Obama Administration withdrew 31 rulemakings between their inauguration
and February 1st, 2009 and the Trump Administration withdrew 25 during
the similar period in 2017.

By admin