Biden Halts Trump Rules and Signals An Aggressive Rulemaking Agenda

President Biden took a number of actions that signal he will attempt to use the Executive Branch’s rulemaking authority to dismantle Trump policies as efficiently and decisively as possible.

Biden first issued a memo through his Chief of Staff, Ronald Klain, directing federal agencies to withdraw or postpone pending Trump-era rules and to not propose or issue any rules until a Biden-appointed department or agency head reviews and approves the rule.

Biden next issued an executive order revoking Trump executive actions that restricted federal agencies’ rulemaking powers, including a controversial and senseless directive that agencies must discard two regulations for every one proposed.

Biden also issued a memo titled “Modernizing Regulatory Review,” which has the potential to significantly speed up his rulemaking agenda.  The memo concerns the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (“OIRA”), a White House office that coordinates with federal agencies to ensure their rulemaking is consistent with White House priorities and signs off on major regulations.  The memo recommends that OIRA, which has historically vetted regulation using a narrow cost-benefit analysis and acted as a roadblock to regulation, should instead affirmatively promote regulations that benefit the public.  Soon after issuing the memo, Biden installed Sharon Block, formerly of Harvard Law School and the Obama Administration, as interim head of OIRA.  Block recently wrote an article arguing that OIRA should be overhauled to allow for the speedy revocation of harmful Trump-era rules and the proactive advancement of progressive regulations.

These executive actions signal that Biden plans to aggressively use the rulemaking power of the Executive Branch to roll back the harmful policies of his predecessor and to advance the items on his agenda, including economic justice and workers’ rights.

For more information about any of these items, contact your labor law counsel.

By: Andrea Matsuoka | February 1, 2021

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