"Federal regulation, like taxing and spending, is one of the basic tools of government used to implement public policy. Although not as frequently examined as congressional or presidential policy making, the process of developing and framing rules is viewed by some as central to the definition and implementation of public policy in the United States. Regulations generally start with an act of Congress, and are the means by which statutes are implemented and specific requirements are established. The terms 'rule' or 'regulation' are often used interchangeably in discussions of the federal regulatory process. The Administrative Procedure Act of 1946 defines a 'rule' as 'the whole or part of an agency statement of general or particular applicability and future effect designed to implement, interpret, or prescribe law or policy.' The procedures that federal agencies are required to follow in writing regulations are called the rulemaking process, and are the subject of this report."
CRS Report for Congress, RL32240