President Trump used his executive authority today to introduce regulatory reform to task forces within federal agencies, which appears to be a bold step towards peeling back red tape which conservatives argue has stifled US growth for decades. He signed the order from the oval office alongside executive management from some of the largest US corporations, including Lockheed Martin and US Steel to name a few, to show he has the full support of successful business here in America. The order essentially mandates that every federal agency create a task force whose sole mission is to research all regulations under their jurisdiction and identify ones that are burdensome to the US economy, so they can either be reformed or completely repealed.
“Excessive regulation is killing jobs, driving companies out of our country like never before;” according to Trump before he signed the executive action into effect. He continued, “Every regulation should have to pass a simple test; does it make life better or safer for American workers or consumers?” Opponents of the new administration would argue that all regulations put into effect have the goal of ensuring the safety of consumers or workers, however Republicans have been driving home the point that many of the regulations enacted during the Obama administration, and previous ones before that, do not achieve that goal, and have unintended consequences that burden the economy which results in stifled economic growth more than anything else.
In the early 1980s, President Reagan established a presidential task force with a similar goal, however Trump has taken that initiative one step further with this order, by establishing multiple task forces at the cabinet level that target each agency separately. Part of the executive order mandates agencies to “measure and report progress in achieving the President’s directives”, with each task force directed to recommend which regulations need repeal or simplification, for further review and approval. Trump preemptively said on Friday that believes 75% of the country’s repetitive regulations hurt companies and hurt jobs, and his goal is to fix that problem to make America more competitive. In addition, he has already mandated that every new regulation put into replace requires two additional regulations to be cut.
Steve Bannon, Trump’s chief strategist, who many believe has significant influence over the president’s agenda, told a gathering of conservatives on Thursday that deregulation (which he has nicknamed “the deconstruction of the administrative state”), was a top priority for the administration and a central part of making America more competitive. According to the Trump administration, the previous government enacted regulations that cost the government and the country hundreds of billions of dollars, while the Obama administration defended the regulations citing the benefits they believe it has for the public that far outweigh the costs. The current White House also pointed out that 3000 regulations were finalized under the Obama administration, though many of those also required congressional approval.
Progressive activists, groups and organizations have expressed criticism of Trump’s order, arguing that it is aimed to benefit big business over American workers and they believe the opinion relevant scientists whose expertise was previously relied on, are being left out the discussion. Additionally, the Trump administration has ordered a freeze on all regulations pending additional review, and has stopped some regulations from taking effect, including a regulation passed by the Obama administration in setting minimum sound requirements for Hybrid and electric vehicles. The delayed rule requires quiet cars to emit an alert sound as they are moving at speeds over 18.6mph to prevent injuries to pedestrians, cyclists and the blind, however the Trump administration argues the arbitrary rule will cost the auto industry $39M annually because of the external waterproof speakers needed for compliance with the rule.