Biden Administration Issues “Regulatory Freeze” Memo
On January 20, 2021, the administration of President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. issued a “regulatory freeze” memorandum for the heads of executive departments and agencies to ensure that President Biden’s appointees or designees have an opportunity to review any new or pending rules (the Memo). Pursuant to the memo, rules that have been sent to the Office of the Federal Register but that have not yet been published must not be published until a department or agency head appointed or designated by the new administration reviews and approves the rule. In addition, the memo directs department and agency heads to consider postponing rules that have been published in the Federal Register but that have not yet taken effect to seek additional public comment on issues of fact, law and policy raised by the rules and thereafter to take appropriate action.
Although the SEC is not an executive department or agency but rather an independent regulatory agency of the U.S. federal government, there is, some ambiguity about whether the memo applies to SEC rules. In addition the SEC may choose to will voluntarily follow the memo’s directives and recommendations.
We will keep clients abreast of any impact on new or pending rules resulting from this regulatory freeze.
The regulatory freeze memo is available here.