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OUR PERSPECTIVES

Biden Administration Publishes Spring 2024 Regulatory Agenda



On Friday last week, the White House Office of Management & Budget released the Spring 2024 Unified Regulatory Agenda. Since 1983, this publication from the White House has been released twice per year, with the intent of offering insight into forthcoming regulatory priorities from every administration. The latest agenda lays out over 3,698 rule changes spread across all federal agencies, with a wide array of impacts ranging from cybersecurity to climate change to workforce protections to more.


Especially in a consequential election year, it was somewhat expected that President Biden's regulatory agenda would be robust as a show of force, even though these rules are likely to be largely rolled back if former President Donald Trump wins the election in November. Under the joint resolution of disapproval process authorized by the Congressional Review Act, rules that are not completed before the final 60 legislative days of this Congress are vulnerable to being overturned if there is a change in administration. With an array of consequential rulemakings planned for later on this year, these actions are at high risk of being reversed.


Lastly, this latest regulatory agenda comes after the recent Supreme Court decision to reverse the Chevron doctrine. This decision, which limits the ability of federal agencies to defend rulemakings in court, makes it harder for administrations to make policy changes without congressional approval. However, this latest regulatory agenda moves forward with an array of expansive rulemaking efforts, despite widespread fears that the courts could strike them down or a future administration could roll them back.


Therefore, while it is a busy political atmosphere with an election on the horizon, it is vital that stakeholders monitor regulations that continue to carry potential for impact. The regulatory agenda points to several notable actions across virtually every policy space, including the below as only a few examples:


Taxation: The Department of the Treasury is working on new rules regarding the taxation of international organizations and foreign governments, with a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking expected later this month. The Treasury Department is also planning to review comments on proposed rules for Section 45Y energy tax credits in August this year.


Greenhouse Gas Emissions: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is planning to publish a proposed rule on greenhouse gas emissions from natural gas power plants in December this year.


Cybersecurity: The Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) outlined its plans to finalize their highly anticipated regulations for reporting cyber incidents, as mandated by the Cyber Incident Reporting for Critical Infrastructure Act (CIRCIA). The agenda states that final rules are to be expected by October 2025, which is likely to be followed regardless of administration as this rulemaking is mandated by law.


Tobacco: The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) is planning to finally implement the final regulations for prohibiting the sale of tobacco products to any individuals younger then 21 years of age. The FDA will publish a final rule in October this year.


Workforce Protections: President Biden recently announced that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has written new draft rules protecting workers impacted by extreme heat. OSHA is planning to publish the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in August this year.


Artificial Intelligence: The Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) is planning to begin their rulemaking process for the implementation of reporting requirements on advanced AI models and computing clusters. BIS will release the proposed rule in August this year, which will include an opportunity for interested stakeholders to comment.


Lead in Drinking Water: The EPA is close to finalizing regulations for removing lead from drinking water through rules that would require utilities to replace lead pipes within the next decade. The EPA is planning to issue final rules in October this year.


Wildlife Refuges: The Department of the Interior is working to finalize regulations for improving the biological integrity and environmental health of the National Wildlife Refuge System. The Interior Department is planning to publish their final actions in December this year.


Food Safety: The FDA is planning to revise certain Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) requirements to exempt certain commodities because they are rarely consumed raw. Under the proposed agenda, FDA would issue the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in January next year.

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