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Proof in the pudding? Trump's deregulation efforts by the numbers

Joe Mont | July 26, 2017

The periodic rulemaking agendas issued by federal regulators are typically ineffective omens of watch for in the months ahead. This year is different.

Past issuances often seemed little more than an exercise in paperwork, subject to inevitable reordering. This year, with the Trump Administration’s miserly approach to new regulations, the filings take on the important role of a weathervane of sorts and an indication of the how successful the President’s strategy is thus far.

If we can take the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs’ Spring 2017 Unified Agenda of Federal Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions at face value, what remains of the Dodd-Frank Act is in trouble. The tally of upcoming rulemaking by the Securities and Exchange Commission makes clear that rules regarding Pay-for-performance, universal proxy access, and incentive compensation clawbacks are low priorities.

An introduction to OIRA’s report says that the “agenda represents the beginning of fundamental regulatory reform and a reorientation toward reducing unnecessary regulatory burden on the American people.”

By amending and eliminating regulations that are ineffective, duplicative, and obsolete, the Administration can promote economic growth and innovation and protect individual liberty,” it adds.

Executive Orders 13771 and 13777 require agencies to reduce unnecessary regulatory burden and to enforce regulatory reform initiatives. “As a step in the right direction, the first five months of this Administration produced quantifiable annualized cost savings estimated at $22 million, compared to $6.8 billion in annualized costs due to rules finalized during last five months of fiscal year 2016,” the report says.

Additional details include:

  • agencies withdrew 469 actions proposed in the Fall 2016 Agenda;
  • agencies reconsidered 391 active actions by reclassifying them as long-term (282) and inactive (109), allowing for further careful review;
  • economically significant regulations fell to 58, or about 50 percent less than Fall 2016; and
  • for the first time, agencies will post and make public their list of "inactive" rules-providing notice to the public of regulations still being reviewed or considered.

The full report, released on July 20, can be found here.