Rulemaking Process

Federal regulations are the laws authorized by major legislation enacted by Congress. Our process of creating, amending or removing regulations, referred to as rulemaking, involves four steps:

1. Initial Planning. Before beginning the rulemaking process, we must first determine that the regulatory action is authorized by the original legislation. We may initiate rulemaking for a variety of reasons:

  • To describe new requirements
  • To clarify existing language
  • To amend the original legislation

2. Proposed Rule. We issue a notice of proposed rulemaking, which proposes to add, change, or delete regulatory language and includes a request for public comments during a specified time period.

3. Public Comments. We analyze all public comments on the proposed rule.

4. Final Rule. We publish the final rule in the Federal Register.  The final rule summarizes and responds to public comments on the proposed rule and include revisions as well as provide an effective date.

The Timeline

The rulemaking process is lengthy, taking anywhere from one to multiple years. Our timeline depends on multiple factors:

  • Complexity or controversy associated with the topic
  • Amount of public participation
  • Other projects on our workplan

Additional Resources