Trump wants to scrap two regulations for each new one adopted – the washington post inert gas definition chemistry


The impact of the order was difficult to judge based on the president’s remarks. It could be difficult to implement under current law and would concentrate greater power in the Office of Management and Budget, which already reviews federal regulations.

Moreover, any effort to scrap a regulation triggers its own process, complete with draft rules, comment periods, and regulation rewriting. That process can be subject to litigation. At the least, Trump’s proposal would add a new time-consuming requirement for any new congressional legislation or agency regulation on topics as varied as banking, health care, environment, labor conditions and more.

“This will be the largest ever cut by far in terms of regulations,” Trump said. “If you have a regulation you want, number one we’re not going to approve it because it’s already been approved probably in 17 different forms. But if we do, the only way you have a chance is we have to knock out two regulations for every new regulation. So if there’s a new regulation, they have to knock out two. But it goes way beyond that.”

Taking aim at government regulation is a perennial sport in Washington. Ronald Reagan attacked government regulation, but Democrats have criticized excessive regulations too. In 1993, then-Vice President Al Gore made “reinventing government” one of his main portfolios, at one point lamenting that there were 10 pages of regulations about government ashtrays, one of which he shattered on “Late Night with David Letterman.”

Business groups applauded this latest move. But experts on government policy said Trump’s formulation made little sense. William Gale, a tax and fiscal policy expert at the Brookings Institution, said “the number of regulations is not the key. It’s how onerous regulations are. This seems like a totally nonsensical constraint to me.”

Ken Kimmell, president of the Union of Concerned Scientists, called the executive order “absurd, imposing a Sophie’s Choice on federal agencies. If, for example, the Environmental Protection Agency wants to issue a new rule to protect kids from mercury exposure, will it need to get rid of two other science-based rules, such as limiting lead in drinking water and cutting pollution from school buses?”

Other government regulations often taken for granted include Food and Drug Administration requirements for calorie counts in restaurants, Federal Aviation Administration regulations on aircraft safety, EPA regulations on automobile fuel efficiency, and Treasury regulations on banking standards. Many businesses, however, call federal regulations burdensome and costly.

Trump’s order directs the Office of Management and Budget to provide guidance on how to estimate costs and set standards for what qualifies as new and offsetting regulations. Trump advisers, who briefed White House reporters on background, said the administration would establish a new management regime — “a strong structural process” — to handle the task.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer said that while this year the cost of any new regulation must be completely offset by those eliminated, beginning in 2018 each agency would have an cost cap that could be set incrementally higher by the director of OMB.

“It’s extraordinary. That’s all I can say,” said Tom McGarity, a law professor at the University of Texas-Austin who focuses on environmental law and the regulatory process. “It is amazingly ham-handed. Because it applies to every regulation. It’s not limited to major regulations.”

Trump said the move would help both large and small businesses. “Regulation has been horrible for big business, but it’s been worse for small business,” he said, noting that small businesses cannot hire the talent and compliance personnel that larger businesses do.

“There will be regulation, there will be control, but it will be a normalized control where you can open your business and expand your business very easily and that’s what our country has been all about,” Trump said. He said he hoped to eliminate 75 percent of government regulations.

Administration members who attended the signing included White House Counsel Donald McGahn, Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, senior adviser Jared Kushner, Domestic Policy Council Director Andrew Bremberg and National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn.