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Friday, February 17, 2017

Law - Repealing federal regulations generally difficult

It is not easy to repeal a federal regulation, as Howard Shelanski, who was administrator of the federal Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs from 2013 to 2017, explains in this Washington Post opinion piece. It begins:

Since taking office, President Trump has signed executive orders instructing officials to reconsider regulation of the financial sector and requiring executive departments and agencies to find two rules to repeal for every new one they issue. But translating those promises into action is going to be a lot harder than the president thinks.

Here’s the rub: It generally takes a new rule to change or remove a regulation that is already on the books. Under long-standing Supreme Court precedent and a law known as the Administrative Procedure Act, agencies must provide a reasoned explanation when they want to change established policy.

Put another way, if an agency wants to abandon a rule it already has in place, it must justify that decision by going through the painstaking process of providing an opportunity for public comment and building a factual record subject to review by the courts. Agencies then have to show that their original decisions were either wrong or have been superseded by events. The law thus requires agencies to be both transparent and accountable, not just in issuing new rules but also in repealing existing rules. The more recent the regulation suggested for repeal, the harder that task tends to be.

See also this Jan 27th ILB post: "Trump's regulation freeze makes losers out of some U.S. businesses."

Posted by Marcia Oddi on February 17, 2017 09:18 AM
Posted to General Law Related