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President Trump Signs Executive Order to Require "Regulatory Reform Task Forces"

bzwirb's picture
Commentary by Bob Zwirb

President Donald J. Trump signed an Executive Order mandating that each regulatory agency: (i) establish a Regulatory Reform Task Force ("Task Force") and (ii) designate an official as a Regulatory Reform Officer ("RRO") who will chair that agency's Task Force.

The Executive Order stated that, "[a]t a minimum," each Regulatory Reform Task Force shall attempt to identify regulations that, inter alia:

  • "eliminate jobs, or inhibit job creation;
  • are outdated, unnecessary, or ineffective;
  • impose costs that exceed benefits; or
  • create a serious inconsistency or otherwise interfere with regulatory reform initiatives and policies."

In addition, each agency head is required to prioritize the regulations that the agency's RRO identifies as being "outdated, unnecessary, or ineffective."

The Executive Order provided that each Task Force submit a report to the respective agency head within 90 days detailing the agency's progress towards "improving implementation of regulatory reform initiatives and policies" and "identifying regulations for repeal, replacement or modification."

Commentary

This Executive Order is a practical extension of the President's prior Order on the same subject that mandated that regulatory agencies rescind two old rules for each one adopted. See President Trump Imposes Regulatory Cap and Cost Allowance Requirements on Executive Agencies. With this Order, the Administration is taking more disciplined and formal measures towards institutionalizing a robust process for evaluating the economic impact of regulations.  For an illustration of what such a regulatory impact analysis can entail, see Consumer's Guide to Regulatory Impact Analysis by the George Washington University Regulatory Studies Center.

As with previous Executive Orders relating to regulatory reform, it is not clear to what extent the independent regulatory agencies like the SEC, CFTC, FTC, or FERC will be required formally or informally to comply with these new requirements. Moreover, some agencies such as the CFTC may not be in a good position to comply, as the Order requires the composition of each RRO to include "a representative from the agency's central policy office or equivalent central office," which is something that the CFTC (unlike the FTC) does not have.

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