Sean Hackbarth Sean Hackbarth Senior Editor, Digital Content, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Published

August 28, 2017

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The most under-reported story about the Trump administration is what’s being done on regulations.

The results are substantial," Daniel Goldbeck at the American Action Forum notes:

“new regulatory burdens are a fraction of those established under President Obama’s first six months; overall regulatory volume has slowed to historically low levels; and a number of notable deregulatory measures have been initiated.”

For example, only 16 “economically significant” rules (with an economic effect of more than $100 million) were approved in the first six months.

State of Regs 1

One of President Trump’s goals is reviewing and removing unnecessary regulations, and six months in, his administration is doing that. Sure, in sheer numbers it’s a far cry from George W. Bush’s administration in 2001, but as a percentage of all rules reviewed, it’s closely behind the last Republican administration’s pace.

State of Regs 2

Congress deserves credit too. As has been noted on Above the Fold, early in the year, Congress helped President Trump repeal some regulations written near the end of the Obama administration by using the Congressional Review Act.

With two branches of our government in sync on needing to tame the Regulatory State we have an opportunity to significantly reform how federal regulations are made, and there’s a bill in Congress to do that.

The Regulatory Accountability Act (RAA) in the Senate will ensure smarter, more effective regulations. As William Kovacs explained earlier this year, the RAA would require agencies to:

  • involve the public in the process at the beginning of its deliberations so the agency can have the privilege of hearing all sides of an issue before deliberating;
  • disclose to the public the information that forms the basis of its regulations so the public knows what information the agency is relying upon;
  • allow the public to challenge agency information to ensure the agency uses the best available information;
  • prepare a cost-benefit analysis for the most costly proposals so the public appreciates the costs and benefits of what the agency is proposing;
  • select the most cost-effective regulatory alternative; and
  • allow the public to question the facts, economics and science relied upon by the agency as a reason to regulate.

Federal regulators will focus on getting right those regulations that will have the biggest effects on jobs, businesses, and the economy.

If Congress gets the RAA onto President Trump’s desk, it will be the icing on the cake for a successful year of regulatory achievements.

Businesses and workers will appreciate it.

About the authors

Sean Hackbarth headshot

Sean Hackbarth

Senior Editor, Digital Content, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Sean writes about public policies affecting businesses including energy, health care, and regulations. When not battling those making it harder for free enterprise to succeed, he raves about all things Wisconsin (his home state) and religiously follows the Green Bay Packers.

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