White House Restricts Regulations

January 31, 2017
Two announcements about regulation have emerged from the Trump White House in the past few days. 
On Friday, January 20, 2017, Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff Reince Priebus issued a memo for the heads of executive departments and agencies, entitled: "Regulatory Freeze Pending Review." The memo generally calls for agencies to do three things affecting the release of new regulations:
  1. Send no regulations to the Federal Register until someone designated by the President has a chance to review and approve it;
  2. Withdraw regulations that have been sent to the Federal Register but not yet published; and
  3. With respect to regulations published but not yet in effect, postpone their effective date for “60 days from the date of this memorandum.” 
Anything subject to a statutory or judicial deadline is exempt.  The term “regulation” in the memo is broadly defined to include guidance as well as pre-rulemaking.  The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) subsequently issued further clarifications.
On Monday, January 30, 2017, an Executive Order (EO) was signed by the President requiring that for each new regulation issued by an agency, at least two prior regulation be identified for elimination. The EO provides further guidelines for agencies regarding the issuance of regulations, including that the total incremental cost of all new regulations for fiscal year 2017, offset by rescinded regulations, must be no greater than zero. According to the EO, OMB will provide further implementation guidance.
On January 30, 2017, the White House later clarified to reporters that independent agencies are not covered by the January 30th EO.  "All independent agencies are not covered by the EO," Lindsay Walters, a White House spokeswoman, told the media. Thus, independent agencies such as the CFPB and SEC would not be covered.
The Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government Chairman Tom Graves (R-GA) sent a letter on to CFPB Director Richard Cordray asking for clarification on the January 20th memo's impact on the CFPB.