President Trump's Most Recent Regulatory Reform Order

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On Friday, President Donald J. Trump signed an executive order targeting federal regulations. This new executive action, which is designed to enact the White House’s regulatory reform agenda, requires the heads of each government agency to appoint an agency regulatory reform officer and establish an agency-level regulatory reform task force. Below is a summary of the administration’s new actions.

Regulatory Reform Officer

The order directs each agency head to designate an agency official as the agency’s regulatory reform officer, a position tasked with the oversight and the effective implementation of regulatory reform policies. As part of the duty to ensure regulatory reform at the agency level, each regulatory reform officer is required to make periodic reports to the agency head and to chair the newly created regulatory reform task force. 

Regulatory Reform Task Force

The order directs each agency to create a regulatory reform task force, which will be chaired by the regulatory reform officer and will include an official from the agency’s policy office and three senior agency officials as determined by the agency head.  Each regulatory reform task force is required to evaluate existing regulations and identify for repeal, replacement, or modification those regulations that eliminate or inhibit job growth; are considered outdated, unnecessary, or ineffective; or are excessively costly in relation to their provided benefit. The order specifically requires each regulatory reform task force, in evaluating and targeting regulations, to obtain the input of stakeholders in affected fields, including local governments, small businesses, and trade organizations.

Waiver of Compliance

Agency heads may file a request with the Director of the Office of Management and Budget to waive compliance with this order. Waivers are available only if the director determines that the requesting agency generally issues very few or no regulations. Furthermore, a waiver can be revoked at any time. The director is required to publish a list of agencies with waivers at least once every three months.

Compliance with Previous Reform Efforts

The order, in part, continues the regulatory reform agenda seen in previous executive orders. Under the order, the regulatory reform officer must specifically ensure effective compliance with President Trump’s Executive Order 13771, which requires agencies to target two regulations for repeal for every new regulation promulgated; Section 6 of President Barack Obama’s Executive Order 13563, which requires agencies to perform “retrospective analysis of rules that may be outmoded, insufficient, or excessively burdensome;” and President Bill Clinton’s Executive Order 12866, which is designed to “reform and make more efficient the regulatory process.”

First Progress Report Due Soon

Although it is uncertain what the complete effect of the new order will be, we will start finding out soon. Agency heads now have less than 60 days to appoint the new regulatory reform officers. Furthermore, each regulatory reform task force’s first progress report detailing its implementation of the order’s regulatory reform initiatives and its identification of regulations for repeal, replacement, or modification is due in less than 90 days. 

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