Biden repeals Trump executive orders covering schools

Biden administration's executive actions are intended to reverse so-called 'midnight regulations'
By: | January 21, 2021
(GettyImages/Carol Yepes)

President Joe Biden signed an executive order on Jan. 20 rescinding a number of Trump administration executive orders on regulations and guidance.

The move repeals Executive Order 13891, “Promoting the Rule of Law Through Improved Agency Guidance Documents,” issued by former President Trump in 2019.

The Biden administration also issued memos that call for a review of federal agencies’ regulatory process, including the U.S. Department of Education, as well as a freeze on regulations issued during the waning days of the Trump administration.

The Biden administration’s executive actions are intended to reverse so-called “midnight regulations” from the Trump administration as well as reform and “modernize” the regulatory process.


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“It is the policy of my Administration to use available tools to confront the urgent challenges facing the nation, including the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, economic recovery, racial justice, and climate change,” according to Biden’s executive order. “This order revokes harmful policies and directives that threaten to frustrate the federal government’s ability to confront these problems and empowers agencies to use appropriate regulatory tools to achieve these goals.”

Biden’s Jan. 20 executive order revokes the following executive orders issued by the Trump administration related to regulations and guidance:

  • Executive Order 13771: Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs issued on January 30, 2017.
  • Executive Order 13777: Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda issued on February 24, 2017.
  • Executive Order 13875: Evaluating and Improving the Utility of Federal Advisory Committees issued on June 14, 2019.
  • Executive Order 13891: Promoting the Rule of Law Through Improved Agency Guidance Documents issued on October 9, 2019.
  • Executive Order 13892: Promoting the Rule of Law Through Transparency and Fairness in Civil Administrative Enforcement and Adjudication issued on October 9, 2019.
  • Executive Order 13893: Increasing Government Accountability for Administrative Actions by Reinvigorating Administrative PAYGO issued on October 10, 2019.

“The heads of agencies shall promptly take steps to rescind any orders, rules, regulations, guidelines, or policies, or portions thereof, implementing or enforcing the executive orders,” according to Biden’s executive order. “If in any case such rescission cannot be finalized immediately, the [OMB director] and the heads of agencies shall promptly take steps to provide all available exemptions authorized by any such orders, rules, regulations, guidelines, or policies, as appropriate and consistent with applicable law.”


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Biden’s executive order also “abolishes” committees established by the revoked executive orders, which include regulatory review.

In a separate memo, Biden said he would have the Office of Management and Budget review regulatory procedures to “modernize” the process and develop “recommendations for improving and monitoring regulatory review.”

Regulatory freeze and review

The Biden administration is also freezing recently announced or enacted rules and regulations introduced by the Trump administration.

A memorandum from White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain directs federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Education, to “propose or issue no rule in any matter . . . until a department or agency head designated by the president after noon on January 20, 2021 reviews and approves the rule.”

The freeze applies to “any substantive action by an agency (normally published in the Federal Register) that promulgates or is expected to lead to the promulgation of a final rule or regulation, including notices of inquiry, advance notices of proposed rulemaking, and notices of proposed rulemaking, and any agency statement of general applicability and future effect that sets forth a policy on a statutory, regulatory, or technical issue or an interpretation of a statutory or regulatory issue,” Klain wrote.


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Under the directive, Klain said rules that have been submitted to the Office of the Federal Register but have not yet been published should be removed from OFR “for review and approval.”

Klain said agencies should consider postponing the effective dates for 60 days for rules that have been published in the Federal Register or issued elsewhere that have not taken effect. He said agencies should also consider opening a new 30-day comment period for such rules in the Federal Register.

OMB may offer exceptions to the freeze to allow for “emergency situations or other urgent circumstances relating to health, safety, environmental, financial, or national security matters,” Klain wrote.

Charles Hendrix covers education funding and other Title I issues for DA’s parent company, LRP Publications