Another day, another piece of President Donald J. Trump’s regulatory rollback clicked into place.
On Feb. 24, President Trump signed an Executive Order requiring that all government agencies establish a Regulatory Reform Task Force in furtherance of his goal “to eliminate red tape.” Each task force will evaluate existing regulations and identify those that should be repealed or modified.
At a minimum, each task force will attempt to identify regulations that: eliminate jobs, or inhibit job creation; are outdated, unnecessary, or ineffective; impose costs that exceed benefits; and create a serious inconsistency or otherwise interfere with regulatory reform initiatives and policies.
On Jan. 31, Trump issued an Executive Order demanding, in effect, that for every new regulation issued, at least two prior ones must be identified for elimination. In meeting those requirements, each agency head should prioritize, to the extent permitted by law, those regulations that the agency's Regulatory Reform Task Force has identified as being outdated, unnecessary, or ineffective.
Within 90 days of the date of the Executive Order, and on a schedule determined by the agency head thereafter, each task force must provide a report to the agency head detailing progress in meeting executive orders.
Also, within 60 days of the date of the order, the head of each agency, except the heads of agencies receiving waivers, are required to designate an agency official as its Regulatory Reform Officer (RRO).
Each RRO shall oversee the implementation of regulatory reform initiatives and policies to ensure that agencies effectively carry out regulatory reforms, consistent with applicable law. These initiatives and policies of the curent or past administrations include:
Executive Order 13771 of Jan. 30, 2017 (Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs), regarding offsetting the number and cost of new regulations;
Executive Order 12866 of Sept. 30, 1993 (Regulatory Planning and Review), as amended, regarding regulatory planning and review; and
Executive Order 13563 of Jan. 18, 2011 (Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review), regarding retrospective review.
Each agency RRO shall periodically report to the agency head and regularly consult with agency leadership. Unless otherwise designated by the agency head, the agency RRO will chair the agency's Regulatory Reform Task Force.
Count U.S. Chamber of Commerce Senior Vice President and Chief Policy Officer Neil Bradley among those applauding the creation of regulatory task forces. “To get the economy growing more rapidly, we need regulatory relief and reform,” he said. “Business owners from all sectors and industries have acknowledged that red tape sows uncertainty and holds back investment and innovation. We appreciate that the Trump administration is tackling the regulatory state head on.”
A far different view comes from Robert Verchick, president of the Center for Progressive Reform. “Though the president claims he is simply seeking to enforce his arbitrary ‘one-in, two-out’ executive order and executive orders from past presidents, this new order is clearly aimed at embedding his overtly political, anti-protections agenda at federal agencies that are supposed to be using science and expertise to safeguard us all,” he said. “Agencies are once again being asked to waste scarce resources to target policies industry doesn't like instead of protecting the American people and responding to new and emerging health, safety, and environmental hazards. This is not a good use of staff time at our federal agencies.”