On President Biden’s first day in office, the White House issued a memo directing “executive departments and agencies” to freeze any pending regulations not yet published in the Federal Register. For rules sent to the Office of the Federal Register but not yet published, the memo directs departments and agencies to withdraw them from the Federal Register and seek approval. For rules that have been published but that have not yet taken effect, the White House asked departments and agencies to consider delaying effective dates for 60 days, seeking public comments and considering petitions for reconsideration.
The language of the memo, which is customary for new administrations, was not specific about what agencies are covered and whether it applies to independent agencies. Since most banking agencies are independent, it was unclear whether pending rulemakings at those agencies would be covered. Recent rulemakings that could be impacted by this pause include the CFPB’s final rule revising the General Qualified Mortgage definition and providing for a new “Seasoned Qualified Mortgage” as well as the CFPB’s recent final rule providing for a new exemption to the HPML escrow requirement.