The Trump administration had a “banner” year for regulatory reform in fiscal 2017, slowing “the production of new, costly regulations,” issuing “only three significant new” ones, and redirecting the “regulatory inertia,” Neomi Rao, President Donald Trump’s regulatory czar, said Friday.
Speaking at the Brookings Institution in Washington, Rao, administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, noted Friday that Trump’s “ambitious” executive orders issued last year calling for agencies to knock out two regulations for every new one and to impose zero regulatory cost in 2017, have worked.
“If you look back on the past year, what we see is that those orders focused attention on a very big problem of cumulative regulations,” said Rao, former professor at the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University, who was nominated to head OIRA by Trump last April.
“The administration didn’t go after the problem with little scissors, but really with something more like the big, beautiful gold scissors … to cut red tape,” she continued.
“The president directed the agencies to deregulate, and that’s what they’ve been doing,” she said.
“We withdrew or delayed more than 1,500 planned rules. Now those are rules that are currently in process and rules that we’re thinking about, but it demonstrates the magnitude of what’s been halted or postponed.”
The administration “is carefully reconsidering the direction, scope and the content of many proposed regulations.”
Rao added that OIRA’s goal has been to “incentivize agencies” to eliminate and streamline burdens “of all sizes,” while maintaining the “very high standards of regulatory analysis that we expect from agencies.”
OIRA has slowed the pace of “new, significant” rules but also of “small” ones and “eliminated costly regulatory” actions – including rules, as well as guidance documents and information collections.
Across the government, she continued, “we’ve eliminated 22 regulatory actions for every one new regulation — a ratio that far exceeds the two for one that the president called for.”
The paring of regulations has produced a savings of more than $8 billion in regulatory costs, the “first time in our records” that the total hasn’t grown, Rao said.
Regulatory costs, Rao asserted, have historically increased in previous administrations regardless of which party controlled the White House.
The Obama administration, in its last eight months, “imposed annualized regulatory costs of over $15 billion,” Rao said.