Regulations.gov - Home
The Regulatory Timeline
Rulemaking is the policy-making process for Executive and Independent agencies of the Federal government. Agencies use this process to develop and issue Rules (Rules are also referred to as “regulations”).
The process is governed by the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) (5 U.S.C. Chapter 5) and can lead to a new Rule, an amendment to an existing Rule, or the repeal of an existing Rule. Executive Orders 12866, 13563, and 13579 also establish principles and guidance for the rulemaking process.
The interactive diagram below provides a general overview of the rulemaking process. To learn more about the rulemaking process and view related frequently asked questions, visit Reginfo.gov .
- Pre Rule
- Proposed Rule
- Final Rule
- Long Term Action
Origins of a rule
An agency cannot issue a Rule unless granted authority to do so by law.
Before the rulemaking process, an agency evaluates possible alternative solutions to a rulemaking and determines whether the benefits of the regulation justify the costs. Agencies will typically submit an "Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking" to the Federal Register for the public to view at http://www.federalregister.gov. This notice allows the public the opportunity to comment on whether or not a rulemaking should be initiated.
If an agency believes a rulemaking is warranted, the agency then proposes their findings to Congress or to the President in order to receive authority to issue a regulation. A “Unified Agenda” is published semiannually in order to declare significant regulatory activities that agencies expect to take in the coming year and to inform the public about both pending and completed regulatory actions.