Federal Register Seeing Delays Due to Pandemic, Large Number of Submissions, OFR Official Says
The Federal Register is experiencing delays publishing complex agency rules due to the COVID-19 pandemic and an “unusually” large number of documents submitted this year, said Katerina Horska, legal affairs and policy director for the Office of the Federal Register. Horska said the Federal Register typically publishes rules within three days of receiving them, but some “can take more than a month.”
“Given the unusually high volume of documents submitted since the beginning of this year, compounded with the number of emergency documents related to COVID-19 submitted over the past several months, lengthy and more complex documents are taking longer to publish,” Horska said in a Sept. 16 email. Commerce officials said their rules have faced delays that have affected the release of regulations relating to export controls (see 2009150045).
Horska said the FR staff processes documents “on a first-in, first-out system as much as possible,” but that process may be interrupted by emergency documents related to the pandemic and the time it takes to work with agencies on edits. For “complex” documents that are not designated as emergencies, “the backlog has only extended the usual processing time,” she said.