Acton Institute Powerblog

Explainer: President Trump’s executive order on reducing regulations and regulatory cost

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What just happened?

Today, President Trump signed an executive order titled, “Reducing Regulation And Controlling Regulatory Costs.” The stated purpose of the executive order is “to manage the costs associated with the governmental imposition of private expenditures required to comply with Federal regulations.”

What does this executive order do?

The order requires that for every one new regulation issued, at least two prior regulations must be identified for elimination, and that the “cost of planned regulations be prudently managed and controlled through a budgeting process.”

What policies does this executive order change?

The major policy changes include:

• Whenever an executive department or agency publicly proposes for notice and comment or otherwise promulgates a new regulation, it must identify at least two existing regulations to be repealed.

• For the current fiscal year in progress (fiscal year 2017), the heads of all federal agencies are directed that the total incremental cost of all new regulations, including repealed regulations, to be finalized this year shall be no greater than zero.

• The Director of the Office of Management and Budget must provide the heads of agencies with guidance on implementing this policy change.

• For fiscal year 2018, and for each fiscal year thereafter, the head of each agency shall identify, for each regulation that increases incremental cost, the offsetting regulations and provide the agency’s best approximation of the total costs or savings associated with each new regulation or repealed regulation.

• No regulations exceeding the agency’s total incremental cost allowance will be permitted in that fiscal year, unless required by law or approved in writing by the Director. The total incremental cost allowance may allow an increase or require a reduction in total regulatory cost.

What counts as a “regulation” under this executive order?

In this executive order, the term regulation or rule means “an agency statement of general or particular applicability and future effect designed to implement, interpret, or prescribe law or policy or to describe the procedure or practice requirements of an agency.” It does not include regulations issued with respect to a military, national security, or foreign affairs function of the United States; regulations related to agency organization, management, or personnel; or any other category of regulations exempted by the Director of the Office of Management and Budget.

 

See also: Explainer: What you should know about executive orders

Joe Carter Joe Carter is a Senior Editor at the Acton Institute. Joe also serves as an editor at the The Gospel Coalition, a communications specialist for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and as an adjunct professor of journalism at Patrick Henry College. He is the editor of the NIV Lifehacks Bible and co-author of How to Argue like Jesus: Learning Persuasion from History's Greatest Communicator (Crossway).

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