• Henry Seaton

White House regulatory reform efforts halt new regulations

The Trump administration’s efforts to rollback existing regulations and change the way it imposes new ones apparently has placed an indefinite halt on regulatory activity in the federal government. For example, the Department of Transportation has stopped issuing monthly updates on regulatory activity, saying that as “DOT rulemakings are being evaluated in accordance with Executive Orders 13771 and 13777, the schedules for many ongoing rulemakings are still to be determined.”

On January 30, President Trump issued Executive Order 13771 requiring agencies to target for elimination two existing regulations for every new regulation issued and holding agencies to an agency-specific cap on the incremental costs of the rules they plan to issue each year. On February 24, he issued Executive Order 13777 requiring agencies to name regulatory reform officers and establish regulatory reform task forces. Task forces are tasked with identifying regulations that

  • Eliminate jobs or inhibit job creation;

  • Are outdated, unnecessary or ineffective;

  • Impose costs that exceed benefits;

  • Create a serious inconsistency or otherwise interfere with regulatory reform initiatives and policies;

  • Rely on data, information or methods that are not publicly available or that are insufficiently transparent to meet the standard for reproducibility; or

  • Derive from or implement executive orders or other presidential directives that have been rescinded or substantially modified.

Executive Order 13777 gives task forces 90 days just to report progress on their reviews. Although it is unlikely that FMCSA would be seeking to propose new rules anyway, the additional procedures dictated by the two executive orders likely would preclude any significant regulation well into summer or later.

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