In accordance with the memorandum of January 20, 2001, from the Assistant to the President and Chief Staff, entitled ``Regulatory Review Plan,'' published in the Federal Register on January 24, 2001, this action temporarily delays for 60 days the effective date of the rule entitled Food Stamp Program: Food Revisions to the Retail Food Store Definition and Program Authorization Guidance, published in the Federal Register on January 12, 2001, 66 FR 2795. The rule implements provisions of the Food Stamp Program Improvements Act of 1994 to revise the criteria for eligibility of firms to participate in the Food Stamp Program as retail food stores, and to provide for notification to such firms of eligibility criteria for participation in the Food Stamp Program.
To the extent that 5 U.S.C. section 553 applies to this action, it is exempt from notice and comment because it constitutes a rule of procedure under 5 U.S.C. section 553(b)(A). Alternatively the Department's implementation of this rule without opportunity for public comment, effective immediately upon publication today in the Federal Register, is based on the good cause exceptions in 5 U.S.C. section 553(b)(B) and 553(d)(3). Seeking public comment is impracticable, unnecessary and contrary to the public interest. The temporary 60-day delay in effective date is necessary to give Department officials the opportunity for further review and consideration of new regulations, consistent with the Assistant to the President's memorandum of January 20, 2001. Given the imminence of the effective date, seeking prior public comment on this temporary delay would have been impractical, as well as contrary to the public interest in the orderly promulgation and implementation of regulations. The imminence of the effective date is also good cause for making this rule effective immediately upon publication.