Status Report: What Regulations Did The Trump Administration Eliminate In 2020?

Bookending four years of its infamous one-in, two-out requirement for issuing significant new regulations, the Trump administration quietly just released its status roundup called “Regulatory Reform Results for Fiscal Year 2020.”

According to the administration, agencies in the 2020 fiscal year issued 145 deregulatory actions and 45 significant regulatory actions, for an out-to-in ratio of 3.2 to one.

Of those deregulatory actions, 58 were deemed “significant” by agencies and the administration. Comparing significant-in to significant-out still gives a ratio of 1.3 to one.

This regulatory streamlining requirement was one of the earliest 2017 moves of the Trump administration, put in place by Executive Order 13771. A Biden administration will kill it on “Day One,” as the incoming supervisors like to say.

The elimination of rules got most of the attention (and claims of success were often challenged) but the directive was primarily a means to the Trump administration’s overarching end of freezing regulatory costs in place.

In the new status report, the administration claims that in fiscal year 2020 it eliminated $144 billion in overall regulatory costs, across the board. Since 2017, the Trump White House says it has put in place cuts of $198.6 billion overall, and provided a tabular breakdown in which the Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency can be seen to account for the vast bulk of savings.

While the Trump two-for-one reports will be going away in 2021 under Biden, there will remain one other option for comparing the Trump and Biden eras.  

The Fall 2020 Regulatory Plan and Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions also recently appeared. A look at the Agenda in some detail (and at the Spring edition of this twice-yearly report) also showed that two-for-one was largely on track (given the administration’s internal criteria), albeit a bit less healthy than it was in 20192018 and 2017 as diminishing marginal returns kicked in.

One innovation under Trump’s White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is that the Agenda now sports a way for the White House to deem whether or not rules are “Deregulatory.” During the Trump administration’s first couple of years, the releases of the Agenda and the year-end bragsheet had been somewhat synchronized. While Biden will eliminate E.O. 13771, it is less clear that the new “Deregulatory” designation (picture nearby), as part of OMB’s regulatory database classification, will be deleted; it would be obvious and look bad if it were.

Read the full article at Forbes.