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Six Ways the Trump Administration Has Reduced Regulation

Apart from sector-specific executive orders and directives to federal agencies, there are six prominent ways the Trump administration has streamlined regulation that were covered in the recent Ten Thousand Commandments report released this past week.  

·         The early delay or withdrawal of over 1,500 Obama administration rules in the pipeline;

·         Elimination by the administration of over a dozen rules and one guidance document via the Congressional Review Act (CRA);

·         Multipronged and ongoing streamlining of permitting for pipelines, bridges, 5G broadband, rural broadband, and other infrastructure;

 ·         Agency restraint in initiating large, significant rulemakings (not an easy thing);

·         Continued progress and success on the presidential requirement that agencies eliminate at least two rules for every one issued. In fiscal year 2019, for example, the administration’s ratio for significant rules out to significant rules in was 1.7 to one. Employing all rules eliminated to significant rules added, the ratio was 4.3 to one. This continued to meet the goals of Executive Order 13771, “Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs,” despite the lowest-hanging fruit arguably having been picked. This is also notable given the (constitutionally appropriate) reality that the president cannot simply unilaterally remove most regulation, but must await an often rulemaking process. A clarification here: The initial release of Ten Thousand Commandments referenced the 1.7 figure significant-to-significant figure in the executive summary bullets and held the administration fell short of the goal two-for-one goal; this has since been updated in the report and I regret the error.

·         Finally, great strides have been made toward addressing agency abuse of guidance documents and other sub-regulatory decrees, with new benchmarks to come in 2020.

Without a doubt, there are several areas in which the Trump administration has been amenable to and pursued additional regulation, such as a brand new executive order targeting social media companies, antitrust advocacy, and trade restrictions.  

But the thrust of the administration in terms of managing the daily regulatory flow has been an unrivaled deregulatory one, with rule counts lower than anything seen since the 1970s and a sharply reduced Federal Register.

This continues in 2020: An important new covid-related executive order was released calling for even greater agency actions in removing what CEI’s Ryan Young calls #neverneeded regulations.

Future blog briefs will look at other elements of the latest Ten Thousand Commandments, as we anticipate new successes in regulatory liberalization in 2020.