Bureaucratic Rule-Making

AP US Government and Politics


  1. What do you think bureaucratic rule-making means?

  2. Use bureaucratic rule-making in a sentence:

  3. Describe an example of bureaucratic rule-making in current events:

  4. Find an image of bureaucratic rule-making:

Fun Fact



Bureaucratic Rule-Making: The federal bureaucracy makes rules that affect how programs operate, and these rules must be obeyed, just as if they were laws. The rule-making process for government agencies occurs in stages. After Congress passes new regulatory laws, the agency charged with implementing the law proposes a series of rules, which are published in the Federal Register. Interested parties can comment on the rules, either at public hearings or by submitting documents to the agency. After the agency publishes the final regulations, it must wait sixty days before enforcing those rules. During that time, Congress can review and change the rules if it desires. If Congress makes no changes, the rules go into effect at the end of sixty days. Here’s how the bureaucratic rule-making process is laid out in the Federal Register.


While bureaucrats writing regulations and rule-making may seem like a violation of the separation of powers fundamental to the American government, federal agencies may enact rules solely within the statutory authority granted to them by Congress. These administrative laws allow regular citizens to have a greater influence on regulations that could directly impact them. Citizens are given opportunities to propose rule language and comment on language agencies propose.


Responsiveness and durability: An analysis of the Accountability and State Plans rule


AP US Government and Politics

AP US Government and Politics


Bureaucratic Rule-Making from Khan Academy


  1. Should the executive branch be making rules? Isn’t that the legislative branch’s job?

  2. What would happen to the American policy-making system if bureucratic rule-making were outlawed?

  3. In what way is bureaucratic rule-making democratic and in what way is it not?

AP Studio Art

Now draw bureaucratic rule-making! Take 10 or 20 seconds. That’s all you need. Nothing fancy. Don’t expect a masterpiece. Draw with symbols or stick figures if you wish. Now Look at your drawing. You’ve got it. That’s all.