Domestic Policy

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  Obama Faces Hurdles In Reversing Bush RegulationsJanuary 21, 1998 19:06 President Obama didn't waste any time freezing all of the pending regulations of the Bush administration.

Almost immediately after Obama took the oath of office Tuesday, White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel sent a memorandum to all agencies and departments, directing them to stop all pending regulations until a legal and policy review can be conducted by the new administration.

But Obama's inauguration came too late to stop some of Bush's most controversial regulations from being finalized.

"They were very successful at getting these controversial rules finalized before Jan. 20," said Rick Melberth, director of regulatory policy for OMB Watch. "This Emanuel memo doesn't deal with any of those."

It's unclear how many rules and regulations the Emanuel memo applies to, but it could be hundreds, Melberth said.

The Bush administration worked diligently to get its changes in place before Obama took over, moving into overdrive in the last year on a host of new regulatory proposals. In some instances, Bush advisers put the finishing touches on proposals in time to have them passed one day before Obama's inauguration -- federal law requires a 60-day waiting period before any major changes become law.