ICF’s Reg Map®: An overview of how the federal rulemaking process works

Mar 9, 2020
3 MIN. READ

Think issuing, revising, or rescinding a regulation is as simple as one of those old ”Schoolhouse Rock!” cartoons? Think again.

The complicated requirements of the U.S. federal rulemaking process can be a bit overwhelming, even to seasoned regulators. To cut through all of this complexity, we created (and have now updated) ICF’s Reg Map®an infographic that helps to illustrate the step-by-step process that an agency must undergo to establish, revise, or rescind federal regulations. For more than 15 years, ICF has been providing the Reg Map® to federal agencies, Congressional committees, law schools, and others in the public and private sector. Updated in 2020, the Reg Map® offers new guidance for regulators on required components of procedural tasks—and potential challenges along the way—by:

  • Providing more statutory text, citations, and references to authoritative interpretations of important rulemaking concepts.
  • Including practical information on how the process works, and guidance for regulators on performing procedural tasks.
  • Listing and explaining web links and other valuable resources for regulators and others interested in the federal agency regulatory process.

From helping agencies understand required components of proposed and final rules to describing potential bases for legal challenges to rules, the Reg Map® supports federal agencies at each stage of the regulatory process.

One goal in making these revisions is to provide practical guidance to agency program staff who have to implement the rulemaking process. The updated Reg Map® incorporates feedback from multiple experts in the federal rulemaking space, including the White House Office of Management and Budget's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, which is the office responsible for coordinating Executive Branch review of agency rulemaking documents.

The Reg Map® also helps engaged citizens understand how they can participate in the regulatory process. Whether you support or oppose ongoing regulatory changes, Americans have the right to participate in the regulatory process and to comment on any proposed rules.

While it may not be as easily summarized as one of the catchy tunes from the old “Schoolhouse Rock!” days, the federal informal rulemaking process is worth learning—and the Reg Map® is here to help.

Let us know if you’d like to request your own printed copy of the Reg Map®. Also, if you are from a federal agency, please contact us if you want to learn how ICF can help you streamline your rulemaking development process and assist you in improving your rulemaking documents and drafting transparent and defensible supporting analyses.

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