Trump Maintains a One-In, Five-Out Pace for Rules and Regulations

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How many deregulatory actions has the Trump administration taken so far? Along with approving 16 congressional “resolutions of disapproval” of existing Obama-era regulations—another 142. This leaves the 45th president, according to my most recent calculations, with a better-than-promised rate of five deregulatory actions for every new regulation implemented.

In addition to withdrawing or delaying rules and regulations that were in the pipeline from the previous administration, the flow of new federal rules ultimately issued by President Trump is considerably below the pace of his predecessor. We can tell from recent editions of the Unified Agenda of Federal Regulations, which detail the rules that are currently in development at the federal level. We can also compare the current rate of regulating going back over the last few decades by reference to the historical tables in the report “Ten Thousand Commandments.”

Rule counts remain in the several thousands, but many of those are routine safety directives from agencies like the Federal Aviation Administration and Coast Guard, not new initiatives. These procedures matter, of course, but they are not generally what people are concerned about when it comes to the growth of the federal bureaucracy.

Many will recall Trump’s promise early in his presidency to eliminate two regulations for every new one added, though even that policy didn’t cover every part of the government. It didn’t apply, for example, to “non-significant” rules or to rules mandated by Congress (as opposed to those agencies came up with on their own). It also didn’t apply to the so-called independent agencies like the Federal Communications Commission or the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

With much fanfare, the administration boasted in its first reckoning of exceeding the two-for-one directive in December 2017 with a 22-for-1 ratio, by eliminating 67 rules but adding only three. Recently  the Spring 2018 Unified Agenda was released, but without quite the same celebratory atmosphere. Nonetheless, the administration is technically still exceeding the two-for-one directive.

The December announcement had included some rollbacks of guidance documents, which do not generally appear in the Unified Agenda, in addition to formal rules. We need to account for them to get a full picture of what the administration is doing, and I’ve previously noted how regulatory liberalization measures can exceed what we see just in the Unified Agenda. In the future, perhaps via another executive order, we should get roundups of those informal documents too, because without a similar “status report” like we got in December on the two-for-one caps, we miss their impact.

So where are we on two-for-one? Thanks to asystem upgrade” to the regulations database by Trump’s Office of Management and Budget, we can get a better idea. Nowadays, regulators must identify all new rules and regulations as “net regulatory” or “net deregulatory.” The Fall 2017 Unified Agenda elements were detailed in the new 2018 “Ten Thousand Commandments” report; the new Spring 2018 elements are detailed here for the first time, giving us “grand total” for the Trump administration so far.

Rules vs. Deregulatory Rules in the Trump Administration

Unified Agenda         Deregulatory             Regulatory     Ratio

Edition:                      Entries:                      Entries:          (In/Out):

Fall 2017                    62                                15                    4 to 1

Spring 2018                80                                14                    Nearly 6 to 1

Grand Total               142                              29                    Almost 5 to 1 so far

The bottom line? The overall rate of elimination is not 22-to-1, but 5-to-1—still well above the initial 2-for-1 goal. The ratio in just the new Unified Agenda was nearly 6-to-1. So far rules (at least technically speaking) are being adequately offset to comply with Trump’s executive order. Significant actions like the Federal Communication Commission’s repeal of Obama-era net neutrality rules strengthen the case, given that independent agencies are exempt from the 2-for-1 order.

I have noted before that the Trump reforms have not changed the fundamental pro-regulatory nature of the administrative state. Agencies like the Federal Communication Commission, Environmental Protection Agency and Consumer Finance Protection Bureau have shifted gears temporarily under pressure from the current administration, but the increase in deregulatory actions will be transitory unless Congress enacts long-term regulatory reform.

In the Fall, however, a new Unified Agenda will be issued and we can take the temperature again. For more background in the meantime, soo the full version of “Ten Thousand Commandments.”

Below, please find the list of Trump’s 14 completed regulatory actions, and the 80 completed regulatory eliminations or reductions, as I have compiled them from the Spring 2018 Unified Agenda. These are presented without value judgments at this point, however I do put Deregulatory items considered “economically significant” in bold type. The Department of Commerce and the Department of Interior have the most Deregulatory actions, at 10 and 13, respectively.

Regulatory Reform: Completed Actions Fiscal Year 2018

(5-out, 1-in ratio)

This table excerpts executive branch agency E.O. 13771 Regulatory and Deregulatory actions presented as “Completed” in the Spring 2018 Unified Agenda

(8-character Regulatory Identification Number at end of each entry)



(1) USDA/AMS; Rules of Practice and Procedures to Formulate or Amend a Marketing Agreement, a Marketing Order, of Certain Research and Promotion Orders, 0581-AD76

(2) USDA/AMS; Fees for Official Inspection and Official Weighing Services Under the United States Grain Standards Act (USGSA), 0581-AD77


(3) HHS/FDA; Safety and Effectiveness of Healthcare Antiseptics; Topical Antimicrobial Drug Products for Over-the-Counter Human Use           0910-AH40

(4) HHS/FDA; Record Keeping Requirements Related to Tobacco Product Applications 0910-AH74

(5) HHS/FDA; Suspension of Registration of Food Facilities 0910-AH79

(6) HHS/SAMHSA; Confidentiality of Substance Use Disorder Patient Records 0930-AA26

(7) HHS/CMS; Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics and Supplies (DMEPOS) Competitive Bidding Program Methodology in Determining Single Payment Amounts (CMS-1699-IFC) 0938-AT43


(8) HUD/OH; Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards 3rd Set (FR-5739) 2502-AJ34


(9) DOT/OST; Procedures for Transportation Workplace Drug and Alcohol Testing Programs 2105-AE58

(10) DOT/FHWA; Tribal Transportation Self-Governance Program 2125-AF70

(11) DOT/FHWA ; Covered Heavy-Duty Tow and Recovery Vehicles 2125-AF744


(12) VA; Schedule for Rating Disabilities; Cardiovascular System 2900-AQ09


(13) EPA/OW; Public Notice Requirements for Combined Sewer Overflow Discharges to the Great Lakes 2040-AF67

(14) EPA/OAR; Renewable Fuel Volume Standards for 2018 and Biomass-Based Diesel Volume (BBD) for 2019 2060-AT04


DEREGULATORY: 80 TOTAL (5 in bold considered economically significant)


(1) USDA/APHIS; Restructuring of Regulations on the Importation of Plants for Planting 0579-AD75

(2) USDA/APHIS; Cold Treatment; Location of Facilities in the Southern and Western United States; Fumigation Treatment; Compliance Agreements; Cold Treatment Schedules 0579-AD90

(3) USDA/APHIS; Importation of Fresh Citrus Fruit From Mexico, From the Municipalities of General Terán and Montemorelos, Nuevo León, Into the Continental United States 0579-AD93

(4) USDA/APHIS; Importation of Fresh Cherimoya Fruit From Chile Into the United States 0579-AE13

(5)  USDA/APHIS; Importation of Lemons From Chile Into the Continental United States 0579-AE20

(6)  USDA/APHIS; Importation of Orchids in Growing Media From Taiwan 0579-AE28

(7)  USDA/APHIS; Importation of Campanula Spp. Plants for Planting in Approved Growing Media From Denmark to the United States 0579-AE31

(8) USDA/AMS; NOP – Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices–Withdrawal 0581-AD75


(9) DOC/EDA; Revolving Loan Fund Program Changes and General Updates to PWEDA Regulations 0610-AA69

(10) DOC/NOAA; Omnibus Essential Fish Habitat Amendment 2 0648-BF82

(11) DOC/NOAA; Fisheries off West Coast States; Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery; Authorization of an Oregon Recreational Fishery for Midwater Groundfish Species 0648-BG40

(12) DOC/NOAA; Regulatory Amendment to Revise the State Waters Scallop Exemption Program for the States of Maine and Massachusetts Under the Atlantic Sea Scallop Fishery Management Plan 0648-BG70

(13) DOC/NOAA; Amendment to the Coastal Pelagic Species Fishery Management Plan; Small-Scale Targeted Fishing Exception From Directed Fishing Closures off the Coasts of Washington, Oregon, and California 0648-BG74

(14) DOC/NOAA ; Regulatory Amendment 6 to the Reef Fish Fishery Management Plan of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands 0648-BG88

(15) DOC/NOAA; Rule to Modify the Number of Unrigged Hooks Carried Onboard Bottom Longline Vessels in the Gulf of Mexico 0648-BG92

(16) DOC/NOAA ; Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Individual Bluefin Quota Program; Quarterly Accountability 0648-BH17

(17) DOC/NOAA ; Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Rule to Create a Separate Regulatory Provision for Commercial Sale of Atlantic Highly Migratory Species by Charter/Headboat Vessels 0648-BH19

(18) DOC/NIST; Rights to Federally-Funded Inventions and Licensing of Government-Owned Inventions 0693-AB63


 (19) DOD/AF; Air Force Academy Preparatory School 0701-AA82

(20) DOD/COE; Definition of “Waters of the United States”–Amendment of Effective Date of 2015 Clean Water Rule 0710-AA81

(21) DOD/DARC ; Temporary Extension of Test Program for Comprehensive Small Business Subcontracting Plans (DFARS Case 2015-D013) 0750-AJ00

(22) DOD/DARC; Procurement of Commercial Items (DFARS Case 2016-D006) 0750-AJ01

(23) DOD/OS; DoD Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Program Regulation 0790-AI24


(24) ED/OSERS; Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services–National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation 1820-AB75

(25) ED/OSERS; Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, Independent Living Programs 1820-AB76

(26) ED/OPE; Borrower Defense; Delayed Effective Date Until 2019 1840-AD28

(27) ED/OII; Innovation for Teacher Quality 1855-AA15


 (28) DOE/ENDEP; Modifying Energy Conservation Program to Implement a Market-Based Approach 1901-AB42


(29) HHS/HRSA; Loan Repayment Terms for Private Practice Special Loans to Former National Health Service Corps Scholarship Recipients 0906-AB16

(30) HHS/FDA; Human Subject Protection; Acceptance of Data From Clinical Investigations for Medical Devices 0910-AG48

(31) HHS/FDA; Removal of Time of Inspection and Duties of Inspector Regulations for Biological Products 0910-AH49

(32) HHS/CMS; CY 2019 Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters (CMS-9930-F) 0938-AT12

(33) HHS/CMS; Medicare Coverage of Infusion Therapy (CMS-3341-P) 0938-AT39


(34) DHS/USCG; Marine Casualty Property Damage Thresholds 1625-AC33

(35) DHS/USCBP; Definition of Importer Security Filing (ISF) Importer 1651-AA98

(36) DHS/TSA; General Aviation Security and Other Aircraft Operator Security 1652-AA53

(37) DHS/FEMA; Establishing a Deductible for FEMA’s Public Assistance Program 1660-AA84

(38) DHS/FEMA; Updates to Floodplain Management and Protection of Wetlands Regulations to Implement Executive Order 13690 and the Federal Flood Risk Management Standard 1660-AA85


(39) OI/BLM; Resource Management Planning 1004-AE39

(40) DOI/BLM; Rescission of the 2015 BLM Hydraulic Fracturing Rule 1004-AE52

(41) DOI/BLM; Waste Prevention, Production Subject to Royalties, and Resource Conservation; Delay and Suspension of Implementation Dates for Certain Requirements 1004-AE54

(42) DOI/BSEE; Extension of Certain Compliance Deadlines in the Blowout Preventer Systems and Well Control Rule 1014-AA38

(43) DOI/BSEE; Revisions to the Requirements for Exploratory Drilling on the Arctic Outer Continental Shelf 1014-AA40

(44) DOI/FWS; Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Removal of Eureka Dunes Evening Primrose and Eureka Valley Dunegrass From the List of Endangered and Threatened Plants 1018-AW04

(45) DOI/FWS; Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Removal of the Black-Capped Vireo From the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife 1018-BB79

(46) DOI/FWS; Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Removal of the Lesser Long-Nosed Bat From the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife 1018-BB91

(47) DOI/FWS; Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Removal of the Gila Chub From the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife 1018-BC77

(48) DOI/FWS; Geological and Geophysical Exploration of the Coastal Plain, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska; Exploration Plans; Application Requirements 1018-BC92

(49) DOI/NPS; Rocky Mountain National Park; Bicycling 1024-AE31

(50) DOI/NPS; Free Distribution of Other Message Bearing Items in NPS Units Nationwide 1024-AE32

(51) DOI/NPS; Rights of Way; Removal of Outdated Reference 1024-AE42


(52) DOJ/DEA; Implementation of the Provision of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016 Relating to the Dispensing of Narcotic Drugs for Opioid Use Disorder 1117-AB42

(53) DOJ/EOIR; Procedures Further Implementing the Annual Limitation on Suspension of Deportation and Cancellation of Removal 1125-AA25


(54) DOL/EBSA; Delay or Amend Final Rule Amending Claims Procedure Regulation 1210-AB39

(55) DOL/OSHA ;Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses 1218-AD16

(56) DOL/MSHA; Examination of Working Places in Metal and Nonmetal Mines 1219-AB87

(57) DOL/OS; Change of Mailing Address for the Benefits Review Board 1290-AA32


(58) DOT/FAA; Rotorcraft Pilot Compartment View 2120-AK91

(59) DOT/FHWA; Metropolitan Planning Organization Coordination and Planning Area Reform 2125-AF75

(60) DOT/NHTSA; UTQGS Treadwear Test Alternate Course 2127-AL65

(61) DOT/NHTSA; Response to Petitions for Reconsideration of Final Rule on FMVSS No. 141, Minimum Sound Requirements for Hybrid and Electric Vehicles 2127-AL84

(62) DOT/FRA; Reconsideration of System Safety Program (SSP) Implementation (RRTF) 2130-AC71

(63) DOT/FTA; Metropolitan Planning Organization Coordination and Planning Area Reform 2132-AB33


(64) TREAS/DO; Qualified Financial Contracts Recordkeeping Related to Orderly Liquidation Authority 1505-AC57


(65) VA; Revise and Streamline VA Acquisition Regulation–Parts 803, 814 and 822 2900-AP50


(66) EPA/OW; Definition of “Waters of the United States”–Addition of Applicability Date to 2015 Clean Water Rule 2040-AF80

(67) EPA/OLEM; Hazardous Waste Management System; User Fees for the Electronic Hazardous Waste Manifest System and Amendments to Manifest Regulations 2050-AG80

(68) EPA/OLEM; Non-Hazardous Secondary Materials–Additions to List of Categorical Non-Waste Fuels; Other Treated Railroad Ties 2050-AG83

(69) EPA/OLEM; Internet Posting of and Confidentiality Determinations for Hazardous Waste Export and Import Documents 2050-AG90

(70) EPA/OAR; National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Off-Site Waste and Recovery Operations Reconsideration 2060-AT48

(71) EPA/OAR; National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for the Portland Cement Manufacturing Industry Alternative Monitoring Method 2060-AT57

(72) EPA/OAR; Oil and Natural Gas Sector: Emission Standards for New, Reconstructed, and Modified Sources: Amendments 2060-AT59

(73) EPA/OAR; Relaxation of the Federal Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) Gasoline Volatility Standard for Several Parishes in Louisiana 2060-AT61

(74) EPA/OAR; Relaxation of the Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) Gasoline Standard for Shelby County (Memphis) Tennessee 2060-AT69


(75) GSA; General Services Administration Acquisition Regulation (GSAR); GSAR Case 2015-G512, Unenforceable Commercial Supplier Agreement Terms 3090-AJ67

(76) GSA; General Services Administration Acquisition Regulation (GSAR); GSAR 2016-G506, Federal Supply Schedule, Order-Level Materials 3090-AJ75


(77) NASA; Earned Value Management System Applicability (NFS Case 2016-N042) 2700-AE36

(78) NASA; Revised Voucher and Invoice Submission and Payment Process 2700-AE39


(79) OPM; Federal Employees Health Benefits Program Flexibilities 3206-AN54


(80) SBA; Miscellaneous Amendments to Business Loan Programs and Surety Bond Guarantee Program 3245-AF85