Following a US presidential campaign that detailed many potential policy changes, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have assembled a team aimed at addressing the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, a challenging economy, calls for racial justice, existing immigration and foreign policy, and a renewed focus on climate change, among other priorities. To help clients navigate those changes, Morgan Lewis will be analyzing executive orders as they are issued or reversed, key agency appointments, and enacted and proposed regulations.
We previously reported on recent mortgage rulemakings that were finalized by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB or Bureau) late last year. Of the two final rules from the Bureau, one drastically simplifies the definition of a “qualified mortgage” (QM) (the General QM Final Rule), and the other provides an alternate pathway to QM safe harbor status for certain seasoned mortgage loans (the Seasoned QM Final Rule). Both of these final rules—with potentially major impacts on the housing market—were published in the Federal Register on December 29, 2020, with effective dates of March 1, 2021 (although the General QM Final Rule contains a mandatory compliance date of July 1, 2021).
The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs announced on March 2 that it has amended its 2020 Supply and Service Scheduling List by removing all establishments selected to receive focused reviews and compliance checks. Establishment-based compliance reviews, Corporate Management Compliance Evaluation reviews, Functional Affirmative Action Program reviews, and university compliance reviews will still proceed.
Much of the attention in President Joseph Biden’s executive actions in his first 100 days has been focused on his numerous executive orders on topics ranging from climate and COVID-19 to race and gender. Although these executive orders will immediately alter certain policies, observers have overlooked one non-executive order that may have a more consequential impact during the remainder of President Biden’s term: his January 20, 2021 memorandum titled “Modernizing Regulatory Review” (MMR).
President Joe Biden signed an executive order on February 24 to address possible vulnerabilities in the supply chains of critical national economic sectors, including the energy sector. The executive order directs various executive departments and agencies to complete, in coordination with private stakeholders, a series of assessments to evaluate the resiliency of supply chains in those key sectors. In his prepared remarks, President Biden explained that the order was prompted partly by concerns surrounding shortages in semiconductors, which are vital components of electronic devices used in everything from mobile phones to motor vehicles.
President Joe Biden has rescinded Presidential Proclamation 10014, the prior administration’s ban that suspended the issuance of certain green cards overseas and barred entry into the United States of certain groups of immigrants. Effective immediately, these individuals should be eligible to enter the United States as permanent residents, and US consular posts should begin issuing immigrant visas to these applicants.
We previously reported on recent mortgage rulemakings that were finalized by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB or Bureau) late last year. Of the two final rules from the Bureau, one drastically simplifies the definition of a “qualified mortgage” (QM) (the General QM Final Rule), and the other provides an alternate pathway to QM safe harbor status for certain seasoned mortgage loans (the Seasoned QM Final Rule).
President Joe Biden has been in office for 34 days and his nominee for Secretary of Labor, Marty Walsh, has not yet been confirmed. So far, Mr. Walsh has not publicly stated much regarding his views or intended priorities with respect to ERISA, although it is known that he has a background in labor organizing and the pension issues related to labor unions.
As part of President Joe Biden’s efforts to address the continuing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on American families, on February 16, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, US Department of Veterans Affairs, and US Department of Agriculture (together, the agencies) announced a coordinated extension and expansion of forbearance and foreclosure relief programs. This announcement extends and expands the agencies’ forbearance and foreclosure relief programs through June 30, 2021. The programs were due to expire in March.
Partner Susan Harthill spoke with Law360 about the recent decision made by the US Department of Labor’s (DOL’s) Wage and Hour division to withdraw an opinion letter on worker classification that was issued during the Trump administration
Partner Susan Harthill was quoted by HR Magazine discussing how the Biden administration’s decision to lift certain limits on the US Department of Labor issuing subregulatory guidance will provide more flexibility for the agency. Discussing the practicalities of subregulatory guidance,
Partner Susan Harthill was quoted in an HR Dive article about the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s guidance that requires vaccinated workers to continue to take cautionary measures to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.
Partner Jonathan Snare spoke with Law360 about new guidance from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) that requires vaccinated workers to continue to wear masks and take other measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Partner Susan Harthill was quoted by HR Magazine in an article about the Biden administration’s request to freeze all proposed and pending regulations.
Senior director Timothy Lynch spoke with Law360 about potential legislative changes to union pension plans. “Clearly, with the Democratic control in the Senate, that makes it a lot easier," said Tim in the article.
Partner Eleanor Pelta spoke with The Harvard Crimson about the potential implications of the Biden administration’s immigration policies on higher education.
Partner Saghi Fattahian and associate Lindsay Goodman were quoted in an SHRM article about the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA) compliance requirements under the 2021 Consolidated Appropriations Act, which was enacted on December 27.