Regulatory Reform Under the Trump Administration

The Trump Regulatory Game Plan

Message to businesses and families: It’s OK to plan for the future.

An Opinion article featured in the Wall Street Journal by Neomi Rao. Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in the Office of Management and Budget.

Dec. 13, 2017 7:09 p.m. ET

Within 10 days of taking office, President Trump issued Executive Order 13771, which directs agencies to reduce regulatory burdens by eliminating two existing regulations for each new one issued. This announcement was met with a healthy dose of skepticism, as the steady expansion of the regulatory state traditionally has been a bipartisan affair. No longer.

This week, the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs released a status report on agencies’ progress on regulations. In only its first 10 months, the Trump administration has far exceeded its promise to eliminate two existing regulations for each new one—an unprecedented advance against the regulatory state.

By comparison, in his final eight months, President Obama saddled the economy with as much as $15.2 billion in regulatory costs, while hiding from the public a needlessly “secret” list of more than 600 regulations. Reversing this trend sends a clear message to families and businesses: It’s OK to plan for the future without the looming threat of red tape.

On Thursday OIRA will publish the administration’s first Regulatory Plan and Agenda, which covers all federal agencies for fiscal year 2018. The plan calls for the administration to drive already substantial reductions in regulatory costs even further. This is a fundamental shift from the policies of the past.

Some regulations legitimately address important health, safety and welfare priorities identified by Congress. The Trump administration respects the rule of law and will not roll back effective, legally required regulations. But in the previous administration, agencies frequently exceeded their legal authority when imposing costly rules. Some agencies announced important policy changes without following the formal rule-making process.

Agencies are now expected to regulate only when explicitly authorized by law—and to follow the proper procedures. The same standards now apply to regulatory and de-regulatory actions. If the government exercises its regulatory power, it should do so with fair notice and due process, and only upon a conclusion that the regulation is necessary and that the benefits of the regulation justify its costs.

Regulatory reform not only promotes individual liberty and a flourishing economy, it also supports constitutional democracy. Through OIRA’s regulatory review process, we ensure that agencies stay within the legal authority given by Congress. When the law provides discretion, we work with agencies to ensure that regulatory policy reflects presidential priorities. This executive direction makes the rule-making process democratic and accountable.

The Trump administration remains confident in markets and the American people’s ability to make responsible choices. Our agenda for the coming year reflects that spirit and commits to a regulatory policy that actually works.

Ms. Rao is administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in the Office of Management and Budget.

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