As part of a “Day One” “flurry” of executive action, President Joe Biden issued an “Executive Order on Revocation of Certain Executive Orders Concerning Federal Regulation.”
It is well known that former president Donald Trump sought to streamline regulation, and he intensified the effort during the pandemic. Clearly, heavy or agenda-driven regulation does not contribute greatly to economic recovery at such a fragile time.
Biden in a sense is laying the regulatory rock back on top of the growing but struggling grass.
He’s supported, though, by those who should be raising questions. In contrast with their shock of four years ago, the media noted the “flurry” and “blitz” of executive actions undoing Trump to come on January 20.
The new president has already issued 30 executive orders after less than a week in office. In all of 2020, Trump issued 69 (his record).
Aflame with a list of Trump regulatory liberalization policies to purge with a fervor that seemed counter to his unity and healing campaign, the new president went on a revocation tear.
Biden asserts in his new Executive Order on Revocation of Certain Executive Orders Concerning Federal Regulation that:
“It is the policy of my Administration to use available tools to confront the urgent challenges facing the Nation, including the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, economic recovery, racial justice, and climate change.”
Never mind that federal regulation is already the least disciplined part of what the federal government does, and that remained true under Trump. Biden vowed to revoke what he called Trump’s “harmful policies and directives that threaten to frustrate the Federal Government’s ability to confront these problems.” His order accordingly “empowers agencies to use appropriate regulatory tools to achieve these goals.”
That alone is a significant philosophical stance. First, the premise is that government regulation is better for the economy in a downturn than the relaxation of it and the pursuit of resilience and growth; and second, that it is OK to resurrect the Obama-era “pen and phone” to make law to advance progressive goals, despite that job properly resting with Congress.
Let’s run through a couple of Biden’s “Revocation” orders and their implications.
Foremost in getting the Biden axe was Trump’s February 24, 2017 Executive Order 13,771, “Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Cost.”
E.O. 13,771 established Trump’s “one-in, two-out” regulatory campaign; more than any aspect, it characterized his approach to the administrative state over four years as the spear point of a program aimed at freezing and rolling back regulatory costs on the public.
The campaign had plenty detractors, and Trump himself could not resist regulation of his own, in antitrust, trade, social media and other areas that wiped out savings. But “one-in, two-out” at least represented a significant eye on that limited piece of the bureaucracy it surveyed.
Most important for legacy purposes, E.O. 13,771 established a new “Deregulatory” designation for rules and regulations at the Office of Management and Budget (see screenshot below). Biden got rid of the underlying order, but it will be interesting to see if his administration retains this important distinction for public disclosure purposes.
Read the full article at Forbes.