February 12, 2018

Weekly Column: Progress In Ending Excessive Federal Regulations

Guest column submitted by U.S. Senator Mike Crapo

Onerous federal regulations have far-reaching negative consequences—not only adding paperwork burdens, but also discouraging job creation and economic growth.  One of my top priorities has been to eliminate excessive federal regulations that hinder American innovation and job growth.  Thankfully, progress is being made in ending federal mandates that stifle progress. 

Excessive, costly government regulation holds our economy back from reaching its full potential.  Early in his Administration, President Trump signed an Executive Order that for every one new regulation, two old regulations must be eliminated in order to control costs.  In 2017, the President signed 70 pieces of legislation passed by Congress aimed specifically at overturning costly rules and regulations from the previous Administration.

The result of this strong action by the President and Congress has been the delay or cancellation of more than 1,500 planned misguided regulatory actions, and, according to the Office of Management and Budget, culminated in eliminating 22 old regulations for every new one.  While the White House had aimed for “two-for-one,” in 2017, it actually achieved “twenty-two for one.” 

These corrections include the enactment of a resolution overturning the U.S. Department of Interior Bureau of Land Management Resource Management Planning Rule, also known as “Planning 2.0.”  If not stopped, this rule would have limited necessary local involvement in natural resources management and affected multiple use of public lands.  

Also, one of President Trump’s Executive Orders would undo the excessive 2015 “Waters of the United States (WOTUS) Rule” exerting federal control over nearly every stream, ditch, pond and puddle on state and local lands, as well as private property.  I was involved in early efforts to block the precursor of the WOTUS Rule and have remained committed to stopping this federal power grab that infringes on private property rights, undermines state sovereignty and threatens the economy. 

According to data from the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, the pages of final rules published in the Federal Register nearly doubled from 1976 through 2015.  We clearly have more work to do to ensure that federal regulations are thoughtfully considered, reviewed periodically for redundancy and outdated policy, and eliminated when needed.  But, President Trump’s work with Congress on this effort and his executive actions reviewing existing federal regulations is correcting course on helping to unleash American investment and ingenuity.  The Competitive Enterprise Institute reports that the number of pages in the Federal Register shrunk by 35 percent in 2017 from the previous year.  Further progress is also on the horizon, as President Trump announced in December that, “Agencies plan on achieving even more regulatory rollback is FY 2018 compared with FY 2017, and plan to issue at least three deregulatory actions for every one new regulation.”     

Reducing burdensome, redundant and expensive regulations is a necessary step for the health of our economy.  We are heading in a far more productive direction in rolling back excessive regulation to help our economy to grow and make it easier for America’s small businesses to be competitive globally. 

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