White House unveils regulatory agenda

The White House unveiled its semiannual regulatory agenda Friday, detailing its plans for thousands of rules in the pipeline at agencies across the federal government.

The release is the fourth consecutive time that the Obama administration has issued its regulatory roadmap on the eve of a major federal holiday, as many Americans depart for long weekends and there is typically less media coverage.

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Formally known as the Unified Agenda, the document is an agency-by-agency list of rules in the works at some 60 departments and offices. It includes both executive branch agencies, such as the Transportation or Commerce Departments and independent agencies, such as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Federal Reserve.

Regulators have a statutory obligation to release the rule-making agenda in the spring and fall, historically in April and October, that details the plans and anticipated deadlines over a 12-month period. 

The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) posts all the agency agendas on its website.

A cursory look revealed no major surprises. Regulations often take years to enact and most of the rules contained on the list have appeared on multiple editions.

For instance, the June deadline for the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal of regulations limiting greenhouse gas emissions remains in place, as does as a much-maligned Agriculture Department regulation allowing poultry plants to speed up production lines.

The Food and Drug Administration’s newly proposed rule to extend its regulatory jurisdiction to electronic cigarettes is on the list, as well as a host of unfinished regulations stemming from the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform act.

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