Presidential Executive Order on Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda

It has been over two weeks since the last executive action (posted February 9) and now we have a new one. With so many public comments from the president and his minions about a soon to be released new executive order on immigration to replace the disaster issued earlier, one could have expected this to be that long-awaited order. Not so. This one is about something entirely different – regulatory reform.

On first reading, I had two immediate observations: 1) the gist of this order is to review all regulations as a kind of “house cleaning” action, and 2) creating a new position – Regulatory Reform Officer – and a new Regulatory Reform Task Force in each agency of the Federal government seems to actually increase the layers of federal bureaucracy, a sort of ironic contradiction to the idea of “limited government” so commonly cited by Republicans as a goal.

On the one hand, I support careful, regular review of regulations to be sure the ones in place are needed and effective. On the other hand, I do not trust this administration to be the ones to determine which regulations are needed or to define what effective means. It is entirely possible this systematic review will eliminate very important regulations just because one or more various entities cited in the order for consultation “…entities significantly affected by Federal regulations, including State, local, and tribal governments, small businesses, consumers, non-governmental organizations, and trade associations” don’t like the regulations.

It remains to be seen if some contingents of the press will be constantly monitoring regulatory changes. Most often in the past, it seems, when significant new regulations are issued, there is some attention given to them, but I do not recall the same level of scrutiny when regulations are dropped or modified slightly. Without some reporters working this beat, it will be much more difficult to track changes, but I expect some watchdog organizations will be doing so.

Meanwhile, we wait for the new immigration order yet to come. And, maybe some new proclamations. Even routine proclamations have not been forthcoming the past couple of weeks. Is February that dead a month for nation day of this or that? Or, is this administration too absorbed in its own agenda and crises to worry about such “trivial” matters? I would think advocacy groups would still be lobbying the president’s staff to issue proclamations. I’m just curious why we have seen none for so long.

Executive Order posted February 24, 2017.

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